Daily Memo: Clarity on the Himalayan Skirmish, More Confusion in Korea

The details of the deadly India-China brawl still aren't great, but at least it didn't involve guns.

Sticks, stones and 15,000-foot cliffs. As it turns out, the first casualties since 1975 in the India-China Himalayan standoff came not from a firefight, as assumed. (This is important, as it would have meant one or both sides had broken a mutual protocol that bars troops in the area from carrying firearms, potentially presaging a dangerous break from the historical pattern.) Rather, it appears the mother of all brawls broke out in the disputed Galwan Valley when, at least per Indian media, Chinese troops “trapped and encircled” an Indian patrol of some 120 troops in an area China had previously agreed to vacate. The melee, which lasted some six hours, involved stones, iron rods and “nail-studded clubs.” Some of the reported 20 Indian troops who died reportedly fell to their deaths off a 15,000-foot cliff. Others died from their injuries and/or exposure as nightfall brought with it subzero temperatures. Indian media and U.S. intelligence are claiming that there were as many as 43 Chinese casualties as well, and Beijing has hinted that this was indeed the case, without confirming it. (In past conflicts, China did not provide official casualty counts for years or even decades afterward.) The schoolyard nature of […]

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