India Surpasses U.K. As Sixth Largest Economy

In an achievement as symbolic as it was substantive, India’s economy has overtaken that of the United Kingdom, its former colonial master, to become the sixth largest in the world by GDP, after the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and France. The last time its economy was larger than the U.K.’s was 150 years ago, when it was the second largest in the world after China. (Indeed, the two Asian giants were for centuries the biggest economies in the world prior to the age of European exploration and colonialism.)

At its current rate, the nation of over 1.2 billion may become the fifth largest economy by 2020; it has already surpassed previous milestones faster than expected, and started 2016 with a faster growth rate than China, its biggest contender as the next big world power. According to the International Monetary Fund, India’s economy will continue to grow through 2017, at an impressive 7.6 percent. Even for its size, this is very rapid growth.

Of course, India still has a long way to go to lift more of its citizens out of poverty: anywhere from a fifth to a third of its people live in poverty, inequality is rampant and among the highest in the world, and it hosts the largest number of malnourished people in the world.

On the other hand, its poverty rate has been rapidly declining over the last several years, and will likely continue to improve if it manages to allocate and invest that wealth wisely. The Indian people have consistently proven to be resilient and resourceful in the face of difficult circumstances, and I have a lot of optimism that the country will succeed in the long run. It has already come such a long way.

What are your thoughts?

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