Last year, India had gone past UK in terms of the number of unicorn startups. Now it’s gone past the UK in terms of the size of the overall economy as well.
India has displaced the UK to become the fifth largest economy in the world, Bloomberg reports. In the March quarter, on an adjusted basis and using the dollar exchange rate, the size of the Indian economy in nominal cash terms was $854.7 billion. UK’s economy, in comparison, was significantly behind at $816 billion. This helped India leapfrog the UK in the list of the biggest economies in the world.
While UK had already fallen behind India by the March quarter, it’s likely it’s fallen further behind since then. UK’s GDP grew just 1% in cash terms in the second quarter and, after adjusting for inflation, shrank 0.1%. The Indian economy, on the other hand, grew 13.5% in the April-June quarter. The British pound has also underperformed the dollar relative to the rupee, with the pound falling 8% against the Indian currency this year.
This is remarkable progress for India, which until a decade ago was only the 11th largest economy in the world, at which time the UK was ranked fifth. After 2014, India’s economy grew rapidly, and came within touching distance of the UK economy by 2017. It briefly surpassed UK’s economy in 2019, before the pandemic caused both economies to slow down. In 2022, India has once again surpassed the UK. Bloomberg estimates that this trend will continue, and India’s economy will be 20% larger than the UK’s by 2027.
It’s not only in terms of the economy that India has gone past the country which had ruled it for over two centuries. Late last year, India had gone past UK to become home to the third highest unicorn startups in the world — at that point India had 54 unicorns, while the UK had only 39. India also has more super-rich people than the UK, which two people in the top 10 global rich lists, compared to 0 from the UK. Most interestingly, Indian-origin people now own more property in London than even English people themselves.
If viewed through the arc of history, things seem to be coming a full circle. In the 1600s, India was the largest economy in the world, but superior British weaponry and a declining Mughal empire allowed the British to set foot in the country, and rule it for the next 200 years. When the British left, India was left penniless, and Indians had become one of the poorest countries on the planet. India slowly tried finding its feet in the first few decades after independence, and over the last decade has really come into its own. There’s still a long way to go — on a per-capita basis, India still lags the UK by a distance. But with India’s economy now officially larger than that of its former rulers’, the country appears well on its way to restoring its original position in the world.