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Will at least 500 Indians die in clashes along the border with the Chinese military before 2021?

The border between India and China has been disputed since at least the 1962 Sino-Indian war. Despite the ceasefire declared by China ending the war the same year and diplomatic efforts to define a border, it seems that the issue is still not settled to both sides’ satisfaction. Over the years, tensions have continued to persist resulting in incidents such as clashes in 1967 and a military standoff in 2017.

This year, tensions have once again flared. Beginning in early May, clashes along the border between Chinese and Indian military forces resulted in some injuries, but no deaths. This changed on the night of June 15th when a deadly brawl broke out in the Galwan Valley near China’s eastern border with India. Each side disagrees about what exactly transpired, but Indian officials report that 20 of their soldiers died, some during the clash and some later after succumbing to their injuries. China has not reported how many of their soldiers died.

This question asks:

Will the violence continue, and result in at least 500 Indian soldier and/or civilian deaths due to conflicts with the Chinese military along the border?

Indian deaths are the focus for forecasting because China has not been forthcoming with data on their casualties. The question will resolve positively if all of the following criteria are met:

  • 500 or more Indians are killed as a result of conflicts between Indian and Chinese military forces within 100 miles of the China-India border. These deaths can be the result of more than one incident, and will be tabulated from credible media reports. A death is a result of a military conflict if it was caused by injuries sustained during a conflict between Chinese and Indian military forces. If Indians are captured and executed or otherwise die in captivity, those fatalities will be counted too. Victims can be civilians as well as soldiers. Ambiguous cases will be judged by Metaculus admins or moderators.
  • In areas where the border between China and India is disputed, two lines will be used. In the west, China’s 1962 claim line will be used. In the east, the McMahon line will be used. These lines are drawn in Google Maps, and Google Maps will be used for measurements. The red lines on these images disambiguate the border lines in areas where it is disputed.
  • The deaths must result from a conflict that occurs between 2020-05-14 and 2020-12-31 UTC, inclusive of both endpoints. Thus, deaths as a result of the June 15th conflict are counted.

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