Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)


The Russia-China relationship, often hailed as a ‘no limits’ partnership, signifies a deepening of ties between the two nations, particularly in the face of Western pressures and sanctions. Officially declared during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, this partnership aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation across various sectors including defense, technology, and energy. The phrase ‘no limits’ suggests a broad, strategic alignment without reservations, highlighting their mutual interests against perceived Western hegemony.

However, the reality of international politics suggests that even the closest alliances have their boundaries. While Russia and China share common goals in restructuring global power dynamics, their partnership is more about pragmatism than ideological alignment. Each country pursues its national interests, which can lead to divergences. For instance, China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia competes with Russia’s traditional sphere of influence. Thus, labelling them as ‘preferred partners’ might be more apt, indicating a strong but calculated collaboration that is subject to the ebb and flow of geopolitical necessities.

For India, the Russia-China dynamic presents a complex challenge. Historically, India has maintained a strong relationship with Russia, especially in defence procurement and strategic alliances. However, India’s growing border tensions and broader strategic rivalry with China place it in a precarious position. The strengthening of Russia-China ties could constrain India’s strategic choices, particularly if Russia’s policies become influenced by China’s interests in the region. This could potentially lead to a recalibration of India’s foreign policy, where balancing relations with major powers like the US and European nations might become crucial in countering the combined weight of the Russia-China partnership. Thus, the evolution of the Russia-China axis will be a critical factor in shaping India’s diplomatic and security strategies in the coming years. So far India has managed to balance out its external affairs rather well, looking after its own interests, helping its friends and maintaining strategic autonomy.

This edition features two analytical articles on the ongoing conflict in West Asia. Despite increasing international calls for a ceasefire, Israel continues its determined mission to dismantle Hamas, undeterred by global criticisms. Our esteemed General Ata Hasnain contributes an insightful comparison between the operational tactics of the Indian military and those currently employed by the IDF and the Russian Army in similar conflict scenarios. He emphasizes the critical importance of minimizing collateral damage—a standard he argues professional militaries should uphold.

Additionally, this issue includes a discussion on the necessity of a robust warfighting doctrine, a topic I have long championed.