first deadly China-India clash in decades


Indian soldiers at a transit camp before heading to Ladakh, the western border area where fighting has erupted with China.  Reuters

First deadly China-India clash in decades

At least 20 Indian soldiers died, and dozens were believed captured, in a brawl with Chinese troops in the Himalayas, instantly raising tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
An Indian spokesman said on Tuesday that three Indian soldiers were killed during the fighting on Monday night, which involved rocks and wooden clubs, and 17 others succumbed to injuries and cold in the high-elevation terrain. Preliminary reports indicated that the soldiers had not been shot.
The Indian news media reported that Chinese soldiers had been killed, but this was not confirmed by Beijing.
The two countries had been working to de-escalate border tensions after several face-offs between their troops along the disputed border in recent weeks.
Context: The violence is a continuation of a long-running dispute between India and China about the precise location of their jagged Himalayan border, known as the Line of Actual Control. They fought a war over it in 1962 that ended in an uneasy peace.
What’s next: “Neither side wants a war, especially India, because China has a far superior military,” Jeffrey Gettleman, our New Delhi bureau chief, told my colleague Melina Delkic. “Both sides are now trying to calm things down, at least that’s what the governments are telling us.”