Can India and China Stand Down After Their Worst Border Clash in 45 Years?

Can India and China Stand Down After Their Worst Border Clash in 45 Years?
An Indian soldier atop a military vehicle as an army convoy moves on the Srinagar-Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, northeast of Srinagar, India, June 17, 2020 (AP photo by Mukhtar Khan).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

A deadly clash Monday between hundreds of Chinese and Indian soldiers dramatically escalated a weeks-long standoff along the two countries’ disputed border in the Himalayas. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the fight with Chinese troops in the treacherous mountains of Ladakh—the first combat deaths along India’s border with China since 1975. New Delhi and Beijing both appear to want to avoid a war like the one they fought near this remote frontier in 1962, but the tensions may not dissipate so easily.

There are dueling narratives. A Chinese military spokesman accused Indian soldiers of crossing the Line of Actual Control—the de facto border that separates Chinese and Indian-controlled territories—to “launch a provocative attack.” India blamed the fatal skirmish on China’s attempt to “change the status quo” in the area.

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