A common misconception in India’s relations with Russia is that “there are historical ties between the two countries and if India has a quarrel with any country, Russia will come to India’s aid.” But in reality, things are not so easy.
Russia is well aware that India is a democracy, while China is a kind of dictatorship. Therefore, Russia considers its relations with India to be more friendly and this is the case with India and Russia on the basis of old close relations. But the situation has changed in the last decade. Russia’s relations with China are getting stronger.
The situation is no less challenging for Russia. The population is smaller than Pakistan and its area is very large which extends from Europe to Asia. The United States has bases all over the world, but the challenge for Russia is to save such a large area with the help of technology, so it cannot tolerate the atmosphere of hostility around its borders. Russia does not want tension at the eastern border with China. China takes advantage of it. Russia, on the other hand, is at odds with the United States and some of its European allies. In that case, Russia has limited options.
India is trying to bring new dimensions to its relations with Russia, as relations between the two countries are now limited to defense. Elsewhere, the two countries have more differences, such as China and Russia being closer to each other on the Indo-Pacific strategy. That is why the dialogue between India and Russia is so important. India would like Russia to put some pressure on China so that China stays calm in Ladakh.
The Indian ambassador in Moscow had also raised India’s concerns with Russia some time ago and Russia had assured him that if India’s dispute with China escalated, all efforts would be made to resolve it peacefully.