Beijing, July 13: As India rejoiced the promotion in the table of world economies as per the World Bank (WB), becoming the sixth largest overtaking France, China's media also applauded it saying its economic feats achieved in the past couple of years wasn't surprising.
According to the WB report, India's gross domestic product (GDP) was valued at USD 2.597 trillion at the end of last year, overtaking France's GDP of USD 2.582 trillion at the same time. However, in terms of per capita GDP, India was still miles behind France whose number is nearly 20 times more than that of India. India's gigantic population (134 crore vis-à-vis France's 6.7 crore) was cited as the reason.
According to an op-ed piece in Global Times, the status of being the sixth largest economy of the world was something "long overdue" for India. It said India did not end up a "post-independence basket" case after the British quit and the three consecutive five-year plans between 1951 and 1965 executed by Jawaharlal Nehru delivered, convincing even those who were sceptical about India's capabilities.
The piece mentioned about Percival Griffiths, a former colonial administrator who was not sure about India's capabilities once, said a decade after India's independence that it was achieving something he had once thought impossible. It also cited British economist Barbara Ward who in 1961 lauded India's progress in infrastructure and industry.
The Global Times piece then said what had ailed India. It said reliance on import substitution industrialisation and preferring a protectionist policy did not help its economic status, either in Asia or the world.
It then spoke about India's opening up the economy in the early 1990s which uncaged the tiger. "By most measures, it is one of the world's fastest growing economies," the Global Times report added.
Chinese media hails demonetisation, GST
The op-ed then cited some observers as saying that the structural reforms initiated by the current government led by Narendra Modi in the forms of demonetisation of high-value notes and the introduction of the goods and services tax laid the foundation for a more robust growth in the medium term.
"Modi wants his country to become a leading power, though that status can only be acquired when the country's economic foundations are truly solid. This means that the government needs to make economic development at home the priority," the op-ed said.
It said India still faces challenges, like in sector like education, manufacturing but the positive thing is that it is clear about its economic agenda and hence its future is "well expected".
China is the world's second largest economy after the US with a GDP of $12.24 trillion (in 2017). The US is the largest economy with a GDP of nearly $20 trillion in the same period, according to WB and IMF data.