The current Indian drought foretells the country’s likely future struggles in a warming world.
India is in the grip of a severe drought as a result of two successive weak monsoons and a searing heatwave. Its reservoirs dipped to less than a fifth of their total capacity in May, and a quarter of the country’s 1.1 billion people are estimated to be affected in some way.
Reports of parched, cracked soils, farmers’ suicides and desperate migration from Marathwada in the west of the country – one of the worst-hit regions – are at odds with the country’s image as an emerging economic and technological power, aspiring towards a trillion-dollar economy “with no poverty” by 2032.
The hope is that this year’s monsoon, due to arrive in the first week of June, will turn things around. But many see the drought as a wake-up call for India, and a sign of things to come for the region as global warming takes hold.