A violent dispute on Chinese-Indian border

Foreign Affairs

India and China suffer worst blow to bilateral relations in decades, in an event that perhaps signifies the end to their previously warming ties.

SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

The Chinese-Indian border dispute unexpectedly erupted last week in a no-guns melee that left 20 Indian military personnel dead either from direct combat or from associated injuries and subzero temperatures.

The battle marked the deadliest day on the border in over 50 years, though we don’t know exactly how deadly because Beijing has avoided releasing its own account of official casualty statistics. Each side took to blaming the other, further damaging the already uneasy relationship between the two major Asian countries. Indian media and social media users are inflamed.

What happens next? Foreign Affairs magazine says “China is losing India,” after a few years of warming ties. The Financial Times says there “is now near-consensus in the Indian policymaking elite that China is a hostile power and that India’s only feasible response is to move closer to the U.S. and to Asian democracies, such as Japan and Australia.”