The Wall Street Journal is reporting Yum! Brands is so serious about India’s potential that it’s created Yum Restaurants India, an autonomous subsidiary.

In “Yum Splits India Into Separate Division, Names New International CEO,” WSJ reporter Annie Gasparro quotes Yum! Brands CEO David Novak as saying, “There is clear evidence that we are at the same stage of development [in India] as we were in China at a similar juncture in its life cycle, and I’m confident we will turn India into a major growth engine for Yum.”

The Lousville-based fast-food empire long ago broke out China as basically a standalone business, with Jing-Shyh “Sam” Su overseeing operations there. Su is the second-highest paid Yum! Brand exec behind Novak.

Now, Yum! Brands has named Niren Chaudhary as president of the India division.

Back in September, Chaudhary told international media at an investors event that Yum! Brands’ goal is total sales of $1 billion from India by 2015.

The WSJ story notes that while India only made up 1 percent of Yum! Brands’ international division’s total sales in fiscal 2010, India has shown the most growth in 2011, with with sales rising 42 percent through three quarters!

It’s worth noting that India now is the second-largest consumer market in the world behind China, with an estimated population of about 1.2 billion people. It’s also worth noting that India is a far more diverse market, with a number of religious sects that forbid eating meat. India also trails far behind China in infrastucture development.