Russia’s War Could Make It India’s World

The invasion of Ukraine, compounding the effects of the pandemic, has contributed to the ascent of a giant that defies easy alignment. It could be the decisive force in a changing global system.

By Roger Cohen

Photographs by Mauricio Lima

Roger Cohen, the Paris bureau chief, and Mauricio Lima spent almost two weeks in India, traveling between New Delhi, Varanasi and Chennai, to write and photograph this piece.

  • Dec. 31, 2022

Seated in the domed, red sandstone government building unveiled by the British Raj less than two decades before India threw off imperial rule, S. Jaishankar, the Indian foreign minister, needs no reminder of how the tides of history sweep away antiquated systems to usher in the new.

Such, he believes, is today’s transformative moment. A “world order which is still very, very deeply Western,” as he put it in an interview, is being hurried out of existence by the impact of the war in Ukraine, to be replaced by a world of “multi-alignment” where countries will choose their own “particular policies and preferences and interests.”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

Fascinating report, thank you Roger Cohen and Mauricio Lima. It leaves me wantint much more. I would like a report on the progress or regression of the environment and species extinction in India. What are they doing about family planning and negative population growth? I’m a seller, not a buyer, of stock in the country of India. How is their water supply, and in what direction is water and air pollution? For how long can they afford to cremate all their dead with firewood? How many people get sick from the fecal contamination in the Ganges? As human populations soar, non human species decline precitously, and some scientists say, when about 50% of other species die off, so then will the humans follow in extinction. It won’t be pretty, but it will finally fix the pollution and species extinction problems. I suspect that this glass isn’t half full, it is half empty.