* Organic profit up 5.7 pct vs forecast for 4 pct rise
* Eyes full year organic profit rise of 4-6 pct vs 3-5 pct
* China, India, travel retail driving H1 acceleration (Adds details)
PARIS, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Pernod Ricard raised its annual profit growth outlook after delivering a forecast-beating rise in first-half earnings, driven by stronger demand in China, India and at its travel retail division.
Pernod, the world's second-biggest spirits group behind Britain's Diageo, said it was now targeting an organic rise of between 4 percent and 6 percent in profit from recurring operations for the year ending June 30, 2018.
This compared to a previous forecast for 3-5 percent growth. Those forecasts were based on constant exchange rates.
Similar to its rival Remy Cointreau, Pernod cautioned against headwinds due to foreign exchange hits.
The owner of Absolut vodka, Martell cognac and Mumm champagne, said the euro's rise against the dollar would knock 180 million euros ($221 million) off full year operating profit, a bigger hit than the 125 million euros impact previously forecast.
First-half group sales reached 5.082 billion euros, an organic rise of 5.1 percent, while profit from recurring operations reached 1.496 billion euros, an organic rise of 5.7 percent.
This compared with analysts' forecasts for a 4.6 percent organic sales rise and a 4 percent rise for profit from recurring operations.
Pernod Ricard said the impact from a ban on alcohol sales near highways in India, its second largest market, was now easing off and sales in India rose 8 percent in the first-half.
In China, it achieved robust sales growth of 8 percent in the first-half, driven by demand for Martell cognac but also Chivas whisky, even though demand decelerated from the first quarter due to the later timing of the Chinese New Year in February.
In the United States, its largest market, sales rose 3 percent with Jameson Irish Whiskey continuing its strong growth with successful price increases.
Pernod Ricard trades at 21.2 times estimated 12-month forward earnings against 20.8 times for Diageo and 21.1 for the beverage sector average. Its shares have lost roughly 5 percent since the start of the year after rising 28 percent last year.
($1 = 0.8148 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)