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Indian troops man the border. Photo: Faisal Khan/Anadolu Agency via Getty

On a mountain ridge, in darkness, with improvised weapons that appear almost medieval, Indian and Chinese soldiers fought to the death.

Driving the news: They slung stones but not bullets. Many of the casualties — 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese — fell to their deaths. They were the first fatalities from combat between India and China in at least 45 years.

  • On one side: India's troops were patrolling an area of the Galwan Valley from which China had agreed to withdraw when they walked into a carefully orchestrated ambush, a senior Indian official claims to The Hindu newspaper.
  • On the other: China claims the Indian soldiers crossed the border and “provoked” its troops.
The history
  • China never accepted its colonial-era border with India, and those tensions turned to war in 1962. China prevailed, and the new status quo became the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • While there have been repeated clashes near the LAC since, both sides have agreed not to use guns to help avoid another war.
  • But competition between the Asian giants has been increasing as China flexes its muscles in the region, including with its Belt and Road initiative, and as India moves closer to the U.S.
What’s next
  • Indian media and public opinion are in an uproar, but while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed the soldiers did not die “in vain,” the government's messaging has been restrained.
  • China, meanwhile, has said little through officials or state media. The instinct on both sides seems to be de-escalation.

What to watch: After the biggest crisis in decades, though, “Sini-Indian relations can never go back to the old normal,”says Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment. “They will reset with greater competitiveness and in ways that neither country had actually intended at the beginning of this crisis.”

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2020 - Health

CDC: Roughly 75% of children who die from COVID-19 are minorities

Students wearing masks walk around the Boston College Campus in Newton, Mass., on Sept. 14. Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The coronavirus killed at least 121 people under 21 years old across the U.S. between Feb. 12 and July 31, according to a study published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Of those young people, roughly 3 in 4 were Hispanic, Black, American Indian or Alaska Natives, suggesting the virus is disproportionately killing young people of color, and especially those with underlying health conditions.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.