The U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart is expected to launch its first store in India within 12 to 18 months following an economic reforms drive by the Indian government last week that allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Scott Price, president and CEO for Asia, said: "The company is capable of opening stores within 12 to 18 months and would be seeking permission to do so from states that have already indicated their willingness to have the US retailer set up shop." 

Price has said added that the company is yet to decide on the number of stores that will be opened in India.

Wal-Mart currently has a 50:50 joint venture with Bharti Enterprises for its wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India. The group has a chain of 17 cash-and-carry wholesale stores in the country.

Price has said that the company expects to continue its current partnership and is not in talks with any other company for the partnering in its retail venture.

The Indian government recently paved the way for international retail giants like Wal-Mart and Carrefour to enter the $505 billion Indian retail market by allowing FDI in the sector. According to the new reforms passed by the government that allows 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail, the foreign retail companies can trade in India, partnering with an Indian firm.

The decision, however, has plunged the Congress-led UPA government in the country into a deep political crisis as the opposition parties as well as the allies of the ruling coalition are opposing the reforms.

The opposition parties organized an "India Shutdown" Thursday to protest the reforms. However, the Indian government, firm on the reforms, went ahead and notified the decision to allow FDI in retail on the same day.