Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just concluded a two-day visit to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other than Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban’s recent meeting with Putin in Moscow, Modi’s trip was the first one to Russia by a leader of a democratic country since March 2023, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin for Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. That criminal indictment has significantly curtailed Putin’s ability to travel overseas. His movement has been limited largely to his own backyard, to places like North Korea and China.

Observers have noted that Modi’s visit was motivated by India’s growing fears about Russia’s deepening relationship with China. Since its invasion of Ukraine and its resulting isolation on the global stage, Russia has become heavily reliant on China, both as a market for its energy products, and a source of critical supplies of various materials and industrial components that it can no longer obtain from the West. In the eyes of Modi, if left unchecked, this lopsided dependence risks turning China into a neighborhood colossus that no one can contain.

India and China have had a long-running dispute over their 2,100-mile border, which partly runs through the Himalayan region. Those tensions had been carefully managed for decades, but they have escalated in the years since China’s President Xi Jinping and Modi, both strongmen, came to power. In June 2020, hand-to-hand fighting between Chinese and Indian forces along the border resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers.

This triangle dance involving these two countries and Russia is quite curious. The three nations form the foundation of the BRICS alliance that is supposed to be creating a new world order to challenge, if not replace, the existing Western-led setup. One has to wonder how that will happen when there is so much bad blood between India and China. Xi Jinping is even said to have skipped the G20 Summit in New Delhi last year partly due to his strained relationship with Modi.

I wrote recently that the effort by members of the alliance to establish a BRICS currency to rival the dollar is likely to end up in failure, just like the attempt to build the Tower of Babel did. In the case of BRICS, God actually doesn’t have to do anything to sow the confusion. The muddle already exists within the bloc.

The previous ideological war between America and the Soviet Union had some clarity to it, at least. Today’s is quite a confused mess. At the beginning of this year, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the UAE joined the BRICS alliance. Small nations like Ghana should steer clear of this particular bloc because there is little to gain from it.