‘Surgical Strike Was Politicised & Overhyped’: Ex-Army Commander

‘Surgical Strike Was Politicised & Overhyped’: Ex-Army Commander

India

Video Producer: Srishti Tyagi

Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

Hours after Lt General (retired) DS Hooda remarked that the surgical strikes were politicised, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, 8 December, said that the ex-serviceman had “spoken like a true soldier.”

In a tweet, Gandhi said that a certain Mr 36 had no shame in using the army as a ‘personal asset,’ while adding that the same person had used the surgical strikes for ‘political capital’.

Earlier, Lt General (retired) D S Hooda had said that "Surgical strike was overhyped & politicised" and “it is not good” when “military operations get politicised.” He was the Northern Army Commander in September 2016 when Indian troops carried out surgical strikes in the wake of the Uri attack.

He spoke at a discussion on the ‘Role of Cross-Border Operations and Surgical Strikes’ at the ongoing Military Literature Festival.

“This was something we had to do. We had lost so many of our soldiers in Uri and we wanted to give a string message to Pakistan that if you come to our area and do such strikes, we can retaliate in a bigger fashion.”
Lt General (retired) D S Hooda

Also Read : Watch: Heavy Cross-Border Shelling in J&K’s Uri Caught on Camera

When panelists had questioned that these strikes were purely tactical with short-term goals and of no strategic value to deter the Pakistan Army from future terror attacks, Hooda said, “When we were planning it, there was no thought in our mind that Pakistan will stop doing Uri-like incidents. At least in the Northern Command, there was simplicity of purpose. For us, it was very simple.”

He also alleged that there have been accusations that the issue had been politicised and that was done by an “attempt to keep a purely military operation in the political domain by selective leaks of videos, photographs etc,” reported The Indian Express.

“Did the overhype help? I say, completely no. If you start having political resonance in military operations, it is not good. There was too much political banter, on both sides, and when military operations get politicised, that is not good.” 
Lt General (retired) D S Hooda

“I think the way the things are going on LoC we must have a pro-active and unpredictable response unless Pakistan does something to ease tensions and stop infiltrations,” he justified.

Also Read : Difference Between Cong, BJP Lies in Response to 26/11 & Uri: Modi

He said that the massive artillery duels weren’t helping. And all the old plans had to be ditched and Special Forces had to be sent across. “The media and our own Army soldiers were asking, ‘what are we doing about so many deaths of soldiers’,” he added.

As a response to a question from the audience, Hooda said that in hindsight, it would have been better had the strikes been done secretly.

According to The Indian Express, Hooda, however, admitted that repeated questions from media and armed forces meant there was no option other than publicising the operations.

“There was no option. Too many questions were being asked. The media and our own Army soldiers were asking, ‘what are we doing about so many deaths of soldier’,” Hooda said.

Reacting to Hooda’s remark on politicisation of surgical strikes, Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat told ANI that comments made by the ex-serviceman only reflected his “individual perception.”

“These are individual person’s perceptions so let’s not comment on them. He was one of the main persons involved in conduct of these operations so I respect his words very much.”
Bipin Rawat, COAS

While COAS Rawat did not wish to comment much on Hooda’s statement, the latter’s successor and GOC Northern Command, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said that surgical strikes had a positive impact on the country and were able to curb terrorism to a great extent.

“Surgical strike is one of the options available to Army. It had a positive effect on country, we’ve been able to curb terrorism to a great extent”
Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GOC Northern Command

Singh was the Director general of military operation, when he had announced that India had carried surgical strikes across the LOC in September 2016.

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