World Economy

Chinese group warns: India could blow past us at innovation by 2025

Key Points
  • India's innovation growth rate is expected to rise significantly over the next 15 years, placing it ahead of Russia and close to surpassing China, according to a new report.
  • Currently China is the leading nation in terms of innovation among BRICS countries.
  • The IMF predicts India's economy will grow by a greater margin than China's this year.
Tiny Owl employees work at computers inside the company's head office in Mumbai, India

China's stronghold as the leading BRICS economy could be up for contention by the end of the next decade, according to a new report which suggests that India is set to see a surge in innovation.

India's innovation growth rate is expected to rise significantly over the next 15 years, placing it ahead of Russia and close to surpassing China, the study from China's Science Technology Exchange Center said Wednesday.

Already India's economy is expected to grow by a greater margin than China's this year. Latest figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast India's gross domestic product (GDP) – the total value of goods and services produced – to grow 7.2 percent in 2017 versus China's 6.5 percent. This new study highlights the growth that can be expected in intellectual advances, such as science and technology, which are often perceived as indicators of future growth.

India a ‘multi-year story,’ asset manager says

"It is predicted that the innovation competitiveness of India would see a significant rise with its growth rate probably surpassing China between 2025-2030," the independent Chinese research body wrote in its BRICS Innovation Competitiveness Report 2017.

Currently, China is the leader in terms of innovation competitiveness among BRICS nations, followed by Russia, South Africa, Brazil and, lastly, China. However, Russia is expected to fall in the rankings as India continues to innovate, leaving it to vie with China for the top spot.

India has been taking notable steps forward in innovation, supported in part by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reform agenda. Government schemes such as Digital India, which expands the country's online infrastructure, and Startup India, which promotes financial backing for entrepreneurs, have been unveiled to boost the country's innovation and technology sectors. Meanwhile, the country's growing information technology and scientific expertise have also helped turn it into an increasingly dominant outsourcing hub.

BRICS leaders to meet in China

The findings come as global leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are due to meet in Xiamen, China, this weekend for the ninth annual BRICS summit.

China has been at loggerheads with India in recent months over a disputed border in the Himalayan region of Doklam. The two countries withdrew troops from the region Tuesday after a 73-day standoff, after which Modi agreed to attend the summit.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin,(L), China's President Xi Jingping (R) and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for the concluding session of the BRICS summit.
Prakash Singh | AFP | Getty Images

Despite holding deep historical and cultural ties, a brief border war in 1962 prompted turbulent relations, and earlier this year, India became the sole country to boycott China's Belt and Road initiative.

However, China's Foreign minister Wang Yi said Wednesday that he saw "huge potential for cooperation between India and China."

The BRICS leaders will be joined by leaders from guest countries. These include Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand. Yi has been floating the idea of expanding the economic grouping since March this year, under the title 'BRICS Plus', but he insisted that the guest invitations would not imply membership.

"We need to have some further explanation about the BRICS Plus to help people better understand the rationale of this idea," Yi noted.

BRICS countries are often seen as bellwethers to growth in their respective regions, leading the development of science and technology, the economy and society in neighbouring countries.

"The close cooperation of the BRICS countries will increase the say of developing countries on international political, economic and science and technology affairs, promote timely sharing of their respective experience, accelerate their economic transformation, and provide new drivers to the global economic growth," Huang Wei, author of the BRICS Innovation Competitiveness Report 2017 wrote in the report.

The BRICS countries represent more than two-fifths of the world's population and occupy just under a third of the earth's territory. Together, they account for 23 percent of the world's overall GDP and 16 percent of global trade.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.