Johnson, on a six-day trip to India to promote business links with London, said to simply rely on India's history with the UK "simply didn't cut the mustard".
"The objective is to build up what is a new partnership between London, the UK and India.”
"We can't rely on sentiment. Everybody knows this. All this stuff about links and language doesn't cut the mustard anymore," the 48-year-old colourful British leader said.
"It's all about what London has - the brands we can offer, the opportunities we can offer to Indian business."
The mayor is in India visiting the key cities of Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Along with a group of London business leaders, he is visiting India to champion London city as "a great place in which to do business, invest and study and strengthen our ties with the world's second fastest growing economy," Johnson's office said in a statement.
The mayor is a known critic of the UK Government's decision to restrict the number of student visas, adding that he was concerned many young Indian people often decided to study in America.
"On the way in to Delhi I saw a Jaguar car driving in from the airport which had been made in Coventry and now owned by an Indian company.”
"Imagine if a million were driving Jaguar cars, you can see where the opportunities are," Johnson was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
"The worry is that young Indians are already orientated towards America. They think about higher education in America, we do much better with young Chinese for example.”
"Visas is a point but it's not the only point. It's the mood music, so what I want to do is explain how welcoming London is."
Johnson is seeking to capitalise on the rise in London's international profile following the 2012 Olympic Games with trade trips to India, Brazil, India and China as well as some of the smaller Asian nations with fast growing economies.
London: Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, on Sunday warned that it "simply didn't cut the mustard" for Britain to rely on colonial sentiment to do business with booming India as young Indians were increasingly looking to the US as a partner.
First Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012, 20:05