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Two years ago, in below freezing temperatures and under the cover of darkness, Chinese soldiers crept through the high-altitude Galwan Valley. Armed with homemade weapons, including iron rods studded with spikes and wooden clubs wrapped with barbed wire, they attacked a contingent of Indian soldiers. The medieval, hand-to-hand combat lasted for six hours.
When the brutal melee was over, 20 Indian soldiers had been killed and, according to Indian media, over 40 Chinese PLA soldiers were dead. Though China has never officially released the number of its casualties, the event is considered to be the deadliest clash between the two nuclear neighbors since 1975.
A man holds a photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping during a protest in Ahmedabad, India, June 16, 2020, after Indian soldiers were killed in a deadly border clash with Chinese forces. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
Had both sides not respected the decades-long agreement banning the use of firearms along the contested border area referred to as the Line of Actual Control, the outcome – both on the battlefield and the global stage – could have been much worse.
In the aftermath of the attack, New Delhi issued an array