Communications originating from China were shared with Rawalpindi GHQ.

New Delhi: After the news of the violent clash on the night of 15 June 2020 between the soldiers of India and China at Galwan Valley in Ladakh was received at the General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistan Army, “congratulatory” messages were shared between Pakistan Army generals, sources with access to people present at the GHQ, have revealed.

These communications that originated from China, the sources claimed, were shared with GHQ on the morning of 16 June after it became clear that the Indian side had lost a “significant” number of its men at Galwan. While the fatal hand-to-hand combat occurred on the intervening night of 14-15 June, the PLA soldiers had been entering Indian dominated territories at least since April 2020.

Indian Army on the evening of 16 June confirmed the death of 20 Indian soldiers.

China, till today, has publicly accepted the death of four People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in the clash. However, the Indian establishment, through off the record briefings, have said that the number of Chinese fatalities was much more than what the Chinese government has accepted.

The Galwan clash, as per the majority of domestic and international observers and experts, pushed back India-China ties—that were taking “giant” steps forward because of the bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping—by several years and it would be long before the same level of mutual trust that existed between the two countries pre-Galwan, is achieved.

While the magnitude of assistance provided by China over the years to enhance the military capabilities of Pakistan is well documented, the revelation that Pakistan Army generals “celebrated” the clash between Indian and Chinese troops is likely to add a new dimension to the role of Pakistan in this whole dispute.

The increased hostility between the two Asian neighbours, that took shape during the time of Covid 19, has led to both the countries diverting crucial military and non-military resources at its respective borders for the last one and a half years, a task that is hurting both the economies.

While India was getting cheap products from China, China was getting access to one of the biggest emerging markets of the world. However, post Galwan, the Indian government has been self-compelled to take steps to stop China getting access to Indian markets.

Official sources in the security establishment, while commenting on the recent development, said that the interaction between the PLA and Pakistan army officials, especially when it comes to China’s Western borders, were witnessing an upward trend in recent times.

According to reports, China was getting substantial intelligence about Indian military positions even before the Galwan clash and the said intelligence was used by the PLA to ingress into territories that were not under its control earlier. The said intelligence, sources said, was being collected by Pakistani assets that are focused on India and then being passed on to the Chinese. While China has developed an advanced set of resources when it comes to technical intelligence, it relies on Pakistan when it comes to accessing human intelligence from India.

The revelation, officials said, is also going to generate interest among the relevant circles on the role played by the Pakistan deep state to “instigate” Chinese military strategists to take steps (referring to the sudden build-up of troops on its western border) which clearly led to a series of counter-steps from India.