"After studying the data and on a precautionary basis, we've made the hard but vital decision to add India to the red list", Hancock said.
India is now reeling under the second COVID-19 wave, with more than 200,000 new cases being registered each day recently and the national tally feared to cross the 15-million mark early next week.
Britain on Monday included India on the coronavirus "red list" of nations, banning all arrivals from the country amid a huge spurt of cases. The strain was first detected in South Africa.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on 9 February it was also important whether "a variant of concern is the dominant variant", adding the list was kept "under review".More news: Premiers Being Asked To Provide COVID Support To Ontario
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was equally upbeat about the bilateral relationship, despite the visit being cancelled due to a spike in coronavirus infection rates in India linked with a new variant.
Hancock acknowledged that the "biggest risk" to Covid restrictions being eased in England was a "new variant that the vaccine does not work as well against", and said surge testing would be rolled out "to make sure that we limit the spread as much as possible".
The Public Health England (PHE) has said the COVID variant with worrying mutations was first detected in India.
India brings the number of countries on the list to 40.
Earlier on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to India, which was set for next week after already being postponed in January amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.More news: Guelph police not conducting random stops, clarify role in provincial guideline enforcement
The UK variant is causing around 40 percent of cases in Asia, according to the pathogen-tracking project Nextstrain.
British nationals now in the countries on the red list should make use of the commercial options available if they wish to return to England.
Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said that the variant of the virus first identified in India should be "watched carefully" but it is "probably not at the top tier of mutations that generate the most concern".
The soaring cases and deaths come just months after India thought it had seen the worst of the pandemic, but experts say even these figures are likely an undercount.
The long-planned trip would have been Johnson's first foreign visit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago.More news: Table Mountain fire: Historic buildings destroyed in Cape Town