Even as the Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore remains the country's top university, its global ranking has dropped two notches to 152 in the latest QS World University Rankings 2016-17 released on Tuesday.
Founded in 1909 as a result of the joint efforts of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the Government of India and the Maharaja of Mysore, IISc's global ranking last year was 147 - also just within the top 150 universities in then world.
All the other Indian universities that make the cut within the top 400 on the list are the coveted Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) - Delhi (185), Bombay (219), Madras (249), Kanpur (302), Kharagpur (313) and Roorkee (399). The only good news is that IIT Madras+ has broken into the top 250, climbing up five places.
"This year's rankings imply that levels of investment are determining who progresses and who regresses," said Ben Sowter, head of research at QS.
IISc's drop is symptomatic of the near-uniform drops faced by India's tertiary institutions this year, the report said. In fact, the positions of nine out of the 10 Indian universities ranked 700 or above in 2015 have dropped this year.
The rankings confirmed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in US as the world's best for the fifth consecutive year. Elsewhere, Stanford University has displaced the University of Cambridge in the top three. This means US institutions hold all top-three places for the first time since the inaugural rankings of 2004.
"Institutions in countries that provide high levels of targeted funding, whether from endowments or from the public purse, are rising. On the other hand, some Western European nations making or proposing cuts to public research spending are losing ground to their US and Asian counterparts."