Following a savage clash in the Sino-Indian border, thousands of Chinese and Indian troops have been in a standoff within the Ladakh region, high within the Himalayas.

On June 6, the two countries reached an agreement to de-escalate by the mutual withdrawal of troops from the Galwan Valley. That agreement went dramatically wrong on June 15 when a melee clash, between the two countries, erupted. Indian army officials reported that 20 Indians died in the clash. China’s government and media have not provided casualty figures for Chinese troops, but unconfirmed Indian media reports indicated that 40 Chinese were killed.

An Indian Federal Minister stated that the two nuclear-armed countries remained over the weekend locked in a confrontation on the frontline.

The heightened tensions between the world’s two most populous countries have naturally drawn international concerns. The United Nations are urging both sides “to exercise maximum restraint.”

Following the clash, both the Chinese and Indian foreign ministers agreed to avoid actions that may escalate the conflict. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, emphasized during a television address that “India wants peace.” And he continued, “but if provoked India is capable of giving a befitting reply.”

New Delhi and Beijing have very different views of what happened on the night of June 15. India stated that “it reflected an intent to change the facts on the ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo.”

Contradicting that, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said in a tweet that “Indian front-line troops broke the consensus and crossed the Line of Actual Control [LAC], deliberately provoking and attacking Chinese officers and soldiers, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties.”

There is no clear reason why tensions have escalated now to their worst point in decades. There are a number of explanations circulating within the Indian and international media. According to some, China was unhappy with India’s actions, in August 2019, to terminate Jammu and Kashmir’s traditional autonomy. This, it is argued, was seen as a challenge to China’s strategic position. Another potential explanation is that China dislikes India’s drawing closer to the U.S. and its allies in Asia. Finally, some propound that China sought to distract attention from its part in the global pandemic and therefore may have deployed more troops to the region on purpose.