India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Himalayan region of Ladakh on July 3, 2020 [India’s Press Information Bureau via Reuters]

On the evening of June 15, hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops laid aside their arms and took on each other in a brawl on the ridge of a mountain in Ladakh, a desolate high-altitude plateau in the northeast Kashmir. The clashes, in which clubs and stones were used, left a bloody trail of dead and wounded soldiers on a frontier that had not seen such violence in the last 45 years. And as India buried 20 slain soldiers from the fight, it began to contend with the high political cost of its ill-thought-out actions in the Himalayan region.

India’s unilateral action

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