According to the former commander of 121 Infantry Brigadier Surinder Singh who was dismissed from the Indian Army under the allegation of leaking classified documents has claimed that Chinese soldiers were present at Kargil in 1998. There was a nine page intelligence brief prepared in August 1998, that claimed the above information according to him.
The intelligence brief was sent to the then General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the area by Brigadier Surinder Singh on 25th August 1998 which is a part of the court record at the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Chandigarh. A petition is filed by Brig Singh against his dismissal.
The senior Army officers who were at service at the time of Brig Singhs service have denied the claim and said this was for the first time they were hearing about the Chinese involvement in the Kargil Conflict. However the Indo-Pak battle was erupted in Kargil in May 1999 and ended on 26 July 1999.
Lt Gen K J Singh, former chief of the Army’s Western Command, said, “Chinese involvement is unlikely. If Pakistan starts something (with India), China may not immediately jump into it.
Another General said, however, “if China opens a front, Pakistan will definitely take advantage.” “The Chinese were diplomatically neutral throughout the conflict”.
It was claimed about the copy of the brief which is with the TOI, that it was been penned down after the investigation of the Kargil area. It is stated in the brief about the movement of the Howitzerguns manned by Chinese Army personnel in that area, stating, “M198 (155mm how) moved into sect and being manned by Chinese pers.”
There was another document prepared by Major R K Dwivedi, then a brigade Major which was titled ‘Enhanced Threat Perception’. It had to be presented to the then serving Army Chief, Gen V P Malik, who was scheduled to visit the area. Almost nine months ago before the war, this document mentions about the suspicious and unusual movement in the Kargil area towards Pakistan. The army was also alerted about enemies gathering arms and ammunition’s and building extra bunkers.
The documents also stated that, reacting to the alert, the GOC of the area had ordered war-gaming in the area and an exercise code named ‘Jaanch’ was carried out to assess the situation. Then after observing the exercise, the brigade made a report “adversary has wherewithal of launching a brigade-plus-size force in Drass”, and a request was sent asking for more supplies and ammunition for stores, considering the threat.
“Fortunately, everything is part of the record, which clearly reveals that I had given complete information about the possible attack. Unfortunately, every input and information was ignored,” Brig Singh told TOI.
Although Brig Singh was not court martial-ed, and was dismissed with pensioners benefits, he has been fighting this case since 2001 to earn back his honor.