A record number of Indian universities feature in the new Asian Universities Ranking published by QS: 17 compared with only 11 last year.
As with all other recent rankings, the Indian Institutes of Technology lead the way.
The top position has been taken by IIT Delhi which holds on to 38th place, pulling clear of IIT Bombay at 41st.
Five other IITs feature in the top 100, led by Kanpur and Madras just outside the top 50.
India is still waiting for a breakthrough at the top of the rankings, with the latest table showing a marginal decline in the positions occupied by most of the country’s leading institutions.
But the latest rankings see an increase of more than 50% in India’s overall representation in the list.
Amongst traditional universities, University of Delhi takes the lead at 81, having slipped one place since last year.
It is ranked in the top 25 in Asia by employers and the top 40 by academics, but is handicapped in some other indicators by its large size and low levels of international faculty and student exchange which brings down its overall ranking.
Only the University of Calcutta ranks highly on students’ exchanges, coming second in Asia for outbound exchanges and 52nd for inbound.
“The IITs have a great reputation among graduate employers, and now produce a relatively high volume of research, but it is not yet having a significant impact in terms of citations,” says QS head of research Ben Sowter.
“India’s improved strength in depth is a sign of progress, but there is a long way to go before the IITs can compete with the very best institutions in Asia. India’s tally of 2 institutions in the top 50 places it behind Japan (13), China (9), South Korea (9), Hong Kong (6) and Taiwan (6), and level with Singapore and Thailand”.
In the latest Asian ranking, Banaras Hindu University, Panjab, Manipal and Amity universities, Birla Institute of Technology and Science and the Indian Institute of Information Technology all appear for the first time.
With seven IITs among the leading eight institutions, the top levels of Indian higher education remain much stronger in science and technology than in the arts and social sciences.
The QS University Rankings: Asia 2014 reflects a swing in the balance of power in the continent as a whole, as Singapore and Korea overtake the traditionally dominant Japan and Hong Kong. National University of Singapore (NUS) tops the rankings for the first time, while Korea’s KAIST rises from sixth to second place.
Last year’s number one institution, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology drops to 5th.
The 2011 table-topper Hong Kong University drops one place to third, making this the first time in the rankings’ history that a Hong Kong university has not topped the table.
Japan’s University of Tokyo falls to 10th, its lowest ever position.
“These rankings confirm the emergence of Singapore and Korea as the region’s new major players, denting the dominance of Hong Kong and Japan,” says Sowter. “Both NUS and KAIST have benefitted from major government investment in research; while operating in English has helped them attain new levels of global engagement.”