Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin Photograph:( Reuters )
It is the differences that New Delhi needs to leverage -- if it wants to keep Russia on its side.
The clout of China, or the authoritative regime of Xi Jinping to be precise, is growing over modern day Russia, standing to hamper its alliance with India. And New Delhi should be worried.
The China-Russia axis is not just about economics. Both countries have similar origins and the same ideological core.
In the early 20th century, both China and Russia -- then known as the Soviet Union -- were in the middle of communist revolutions.
In Russia, it was Joseph Stalin who rose to power.
Stalin's Russia then actively helped Mao Zedong to take power in China.
In fact, Mao even trained both communist leaders.
Both had a cult of personality -- that gave them complete control over their countries.
Several years later, the Soviet Union collapsed, but communism didn't die.
China took lessons from the fall of the Soviet Union, and created a new and uglier brand of communism.
Today, the Communist Party has complete control on China. It wants to bring weaker nations under its sphere of influence, and mould international institutions using Chinese characteristics.
Russia, which forgot a pandemic on Wednesday to celebrate the success of Stalin against the Nazis, has found an old best friend in China.
Both China and Russia share similar values on the global stage. They are lead by strong leaders -- just like the times of Mao and Stalin -- Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin respectively.
Both leaders enjoy a cult of personality that is unrivalled. Their grip on power is absolute, and their friendship is there for the world to see.
Last year, at Xi's birthday, Putin had arrived bearing gifts -- a giant box of ice cream to be exact.
There are many such moments that stand out in the friendship of Putin and Xi. They have done photo-ops together; they have unveiled pandas at the Moscow zoo together; and they have cooked together, and that too not once, but twice.
In 2018, Putin made dumplings with Xi Jinping during a visit to China.
And when Xi came to Russia, they made pancakes together.
This bromance has resulted in a strong Russia-China partnership. And this is one friendship that India needs to be wary of.
The economic ties are the foundation of the Russia-China relationship.
China is Russia's biggest trading partner, and its largest Asian investor. As of September last year, Russia had a little over 12 per cent of its foreign currency assets in the Chinese currency.
Considering the various American sanctions on Russia, Moscow had shifted its reserves to the Euro and Yuan.
But despite being the best of friends, both countries don't see eye to eye on all issues. For example, China does not recognise Crimea as part of Russia.
Russia too hasn't backed China's claims over the entire South China sea.
And it is these differences that New Delhi needs to leverage -- if it wants to keep Russia on its side.