How conflict at the top of the world became India and China’s new status quo

As an icy military standoff between the two Asian giants approaches its third year, China appears to be settling whole new stretches of the Himalayas and has passed a law making them its first line of defence. Shweta Sharma reports on how India has been caught off guard by Xi Jinping’s more bullish outlook

<p>Tibetans living in exile in India take part in a protest march in Delhi against the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics</p>

Tibetans living in exile in India take part in a protest march in Delhi against the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

India has generally turned a blind eye to the Beijing Winter Olympics that opened on Friday, with only a single athlete taking part and no interest at higher levels of the government in joining the diplomatic boycott led by western nations.

It came as some surprise, therefore, when news emerged that China had selected as an Olympic torch-bearer one of its soldiers who had been involved in the most bloody border clash between the two Asian countries in decades.

The Galwan Valley battle was a brutal hand-to-hand brawl between Chinese and Indian border patrols, of the sort that routinely takes place without firearms to prevent a major escalation of conflict. It left 20 Indian soldiers dead, and an unconfirmed number of Chinese casualties, ranging from four to 40, depending on which reports you believe.

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