Congress president Rahul Gandhi has taken a swipe at the Modi government over a comment by a former Army officer that there was “too much hype” over the surgical strike across the Line of Control two years ago.
Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retired), who monitored on live video feed the precision attack on terrorist launch pads in September 2016, had approved the special forces operation in retaliation to the killing of 19 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri by Pakistani terrorists. He said though the initial euphoria may have been a natural reaction, the “hype” around the operation was unnecessary.
“Spoken like a true soldier General. India is so proud of you. Mr 36 has absolutely no shame in using our military as a personal asset. He used the surgical strikes for political capital and the Rafale deal to increase Anil Ambani’s real capital by 30,000 Cr,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted today.
Ministers in the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have often highlighted the surgical strike as an achievement the country should be proud of and not to be kept hidden. The opposition has, however, alleged that the government’s continuous use of the surgical strike narrative amounts to misusing the military’s work for political ends.
“I do think there was too much hype over it. The military operation was important and we had to do it. Now how much should it have been politicised, whether it is right or wrong is something that should be asked to politicians,” Lt. General Hooda said at Chandigarh on Friday while attending the Military Literature Festival themed on cross-border operations.
Responding to a question from the audience, Lt. General Hooda said that in hindsight, the surgical strike should have been carried out in secret. “The aim of any such offensive had to be not only tactical but strategic too, which substantially hampers enemy morale,” he said.
Lt. General NS Brar (retired), who also attended the literature festival, asked whether politicians would have taken responsibility had there been any casualty in the surgical strike, and cautioned them against being “adventurists”.
The Army struck several launch pads across the Line of Control in the surgical strike
Reacting to Lt General Hooda’s comments, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said, “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.”
The Army had said its special forces inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists waiting across the Line of Control to cross into Indian territory.
“Surgical strike is one of the options available to the Army. It had a positive effect on the country. We have been able to curb terrorism to a great extent,” Northern Army Commander Lt. General Ranbir Singh told news agency ANI.
The government is reportedly planning to set up a surgical strike force comprising the best soldiers drawn from the three branches of the military.
With inputs from ANI
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.
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