Russian invasion of Ukraine poses the greatest diplomatic crisis India has had to face since the Cold War, said veteran journalist and geopolitical expert Fareed Zakaria.

In an exclusive interview with India Today, Zakaria said, "This is the greatest diplomatic crisis for India since the Cold War. India has to figure out what is going to be its strategic posture going ahead. India cannot continue to play the game of being multi-aligned."

Zakaria added that the question is whether India should reduce its dependence on Russia for military hardware.

He says, "Indians have a long legacy of dealing with Moscow and they want to preserve that relationship, but at the same time they want to have ties with the US. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took India a long way in that regard. If that process had continued, I have no doubt that the US would be willing to be India's defence partner.

"But the central strategic fact for India for the next 25-40 years is the rise of China. India has to figure out its national interests and its strategy.

Fareed Zakaria also said that due to its response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Quad is being seen as a "three-legged stool" since all other members of Quad have come out in condemnation of Russia's military actions in Ukraine, except India.

'All Countries Benefit From Rules-Based Order'

"All countries benefit from rules-based order," said Zakaria, adding that the world cannot "normalise" territorial expansion that undermines the sovereignty of another country.

Asked about the US response to the crisis in Ukraine, Fareed Zakaria told India Today, "They [Biden administration] played a difficult hand reasonably well. They mixed a degree of deterrence with a degree of diplomacy."

Fareed Zakaria also said that the international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine could embolden China, which has territorial ambitions in the Taiwan strait.

He, however, added, "China and Russia are different. Russia has turned into a kind of geopolitical rogue state."