In June, soldiers from India and China engaged in a violent skirmishalong the two countries’ unmarked border in the Galwan Valley ineastern Ladakh. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed, along with anunspecified number of their Chinese counterparts, in what was the first suchconfrontation since 1975 that resulted in fatalities.New Delhi and Beijing have now embarked on a fitful process of de-escalation. But even as the two parties seek to restore some semblance ofnormalcy along their shared border, a critical question lingers: Why wasIndia’s security establishment seemingly blindsided by China? Localofficials in Ladakh have in fact been sounding the alarm about Chineseforays into Indian territory for years, a fact that points to a completebreakdown in New Delhi’s intelligence gathering and risk assessment.
It wouldn’t be the first time. And India doesn’t seem to be learning crucial lessons from previous security failures.
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