"You've more poor in India than in all of sub-Saharan Africa. So if we're focused on poverty, we have to focus on these countries (India and China)", he told BBC in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday.
Answering questions on the need to help countries like India and China which can access the capital markets for funds, Zoellick said although these countries are considered as "middle income powers", they house 70 per cent of the world's poor and hence would continue to be the focus of the Bank.
Secondly, he added, "If we're going to deal with issues like energy and climate change, these countries are critical. We can't just say we're going to ignore them."
Referring to Doha Round, Zoellick said big global trade negotiations will help India by opening opportunities for those farmers who would move away from the agriculture sector.
"They're (600 million people in rural areas) not all going to remain farmers. Some of them are going to move to small manufacturing, and that (trade negotiations) could help if there's more open business for them globally."
Talking about the impact of US sub-prime crisis on the developing countries, Zoellick said slowdown in the US will affect lot of countries who are selling to America, whether India, China or others.
Answering questions on growth prospects in India, the World Bank chief said certain impediments like infrastructure, skill development and regulatory structure are hampering growth.
Another challenge before India, he added, was to make the growth more inclusive so that it "benefits the most people throughout the India society. And I think that's the intention of the government too."