India cemented its position as the world’s fastest-growing large economy in the three months to September, posting growth of 7.4% in the quarter, slightly ahead of expectations and up from a rate of 7.0% in the previous quarter.
The figures are welcome evidence that emerging markets, which the world economy is depending on increasingly to generate growth, haven’t run out of steam, despite the well-publicised slowdown in China. However, it’s still short of the 8% rate that the government is targeting and that analysts think the economy should be capable of delivering.
There was particularly good news from the manufacturing sector, where output rose 9.3% on the year, a development that will give clout to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-octane pitches to foreign investors to “Make in India.”
Modi this week is in Paris at the COP21 U.N. Climate Summit, and is lobbying hard to ensure that the country isn’t tied down to finite quotas on its use of energy as it seeks to emulate China’s success in lifting large parts of its population out of poverty.
“Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow,” Modi wrote in an op-ed for The Financial Times on the eve of the summit.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency estimates that India has to reckon with another 600 million new electricity consumers within the next 25 years, and notes that its urban population alone will grow by 315 million–almost as many as the whole U.S. population today–within the same timeframe, leading to rapid increases in demand for energy.