Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A Chinese and an Indian soldier during a ceremony in 2006. Photo: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP via Getty Images

The Indian army says 20 of its troops were killed in a violent clash with Chinese forces in a disputed border region high in the Himalayas. China also reported casualties, but it has not confirmed any fatalities.

Why it matters: This is the most perilous moment for relations between the two Asian giants in decades. The sides had repeatedly clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but hadn't exchanged gunfire in 45 years. It's unclear whether guns were used in the altercation overnight.

Zoom in: "The large number of fatalities suggests that the violence had to go beyond the punching and shoving that typically marks these spats, unless you had some soldiers fall off cliffs," Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Wilson Center, tells Axios.

  • "I would take quite seriously those reports emerging now that claim fire was exchanged and that there were deadly bullet wounds."

What to watch: The messaging from both sides will be vitally important, Kugelman says.

  • "New Delhi has been very restrained and calm in its messaging throughout this crisis, and that makes sense given that India is the less powerful of the two and it can't afford escalation that leads to a conflict."
  • "But now that there has been a deadly, mass-casualty incident, the calculus has changed and the Modi government will be under tremendous pressure to take a harder line, at least rhetorically."
  • Kugelman notes that India and China began high-level military talks earlier this month, which could provide an off-ramp — or could also be called off entirely as a result of this incident.

Flashback: The news follows skirmishes last month along the LAC, which included hospitalizations but no fatalities. The situation seemed to be heading toward a peaceful conclusion before the surprise eruption of violence on Monday.

  • The two sides had blamed one another for the recent tensions, with China objecting to Indian road-building near the disputed border and India wary of China's incursions into territory it controls — in addition to Beijing's Belt and Road initiative and influence-building in South Asia.
  • Prior to last month's clashes, Chinese troops had ventured across the LAC, reportedly digging in with tents and even destroying some Indian guard posts and bridges, per the Economist.
  • President Trump offered to mediate what he called a "raging" dispute, but the sides said they would handle it bilaterally. They previously fought a war over the border in 1962.

What they're saying: China's Foreign Ministry blamed this deadly clash on "illegal activities" conducted by India on its side of the LAC.

  • Meanwhile, India's External Affairs Ministry says China tried to "unilaterally change the status quo" on the border.

Go deeper

Aug 26, 2020 - World

U.S. presses Israel to cool ties with China over support for Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Aug. 24. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday to further cool relations with China and limit Chinese investments in Israel over the new strategic partnership agreement China signed with Iran, Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has been lobbying Israel for two years to scale back its relations with China. Until now, those efforts have had very little success.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.

California's largest wildfire razes homes as 88 huge blazes burn in U.S.

Firefighters on the scene as dozens of homes burn during the Dixie Fire in the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Flames from California's biggest wildfire were engulfing homes in the state's north overnight — one of 88 large blazes raging in the U.S.

Driving the news: The Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, was tearing through the community of Indian Falls in the neighboring Plumas County, per AP.