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Lt. General D.S. Hooda (retd), then chief of Northern Command, says ‘overhype’ around the success of surgical strikes was unwarranted.

Chandigarh: Retired Lt. General D.S. Hooda, who was heading the Northern Command when his units conducted the surgical strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan in 2016, said Friday that no politician was involved in the planning or execution of the strikes.

Hooda said that the final approval did come from the political leadership of the country, but the operation had nothing to do with politics.

He also said that the “overhype” around the surgical strikes was unwarranted.

The retired Army man made the comments while moderating a session on Role of cross border operations and surgical strikes on the inaugural day of the second edition of the Military Literature Festival organised by the Punjab government.

The three-day festival began at the Lake Club, Chandigarh, Friday.

“Political dissonance is not good for military operations. In fact, all political parties need to come together for a strategic success. Too much banter on military operations is not good,” said Hooda.

He added, “But was there a need to publicise it (at all)? I think we had no option.

“Too many questions were being raised. Not just by the media and others but our soldiers too. What were we doing? So the message had to be clearly conveyed,” said Hooda.

Two years ago, on the night of 28-29 September, teams from two battalions of the Indian Army’s para-commandos infiltrated across the LoC and took down what was reported as five terrorist launchpads, in response to an attack by terrorists on the Uri base of Indian Army.


Also read: India’s original surgical strike: How the Haji Pir pass was captured in 1965


‘Other side was in a state of shock’

Speaking about the hype around the success of the strikes, Hooda said it may induce caution for future operations.

“We may find it better to remain quiet (next time),” he said.

Hooda said the strikes were carried out with simplicity of purpose. Since the end of 2013, terrorists were targeting Army bases in India. After July 2016, the Army was under pressure, especially after the increased unrest in Kashmir following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

“After the Uri attack (September 2016), the Army chief flew from Delhi and visited Uri with me. Everything had been burnt down, we were walking in three inches of ash,” said Hooda.

“There were 19 dead. There was no doubt in our mind that we had to go across the border and hit terrorist camps,” he added.

“What did we achieve? In the short-term, it helped boost the morale of our soldiers and in a limited sense our military dominance on the LOC,” he said.

“The other side was in such a state of shock that there was no reaction,” he said.

‘Match the operations’

Colonel Ajay Shukla (retd), who also spoke during the session, was of the view that the government slapped a political dimension to the surgical strikes.

“The resounding victory of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) in Uttar Pradesh elections proves that in that sense the Modi government was in sync with the national mood,” he said.

Shukla pointed out that the dynamics of escalation used by the Indian Army was very different from the ones used in other countries.

He said the US army believes in first exhausting its firepower before putting ground troops in harm’s way. However, in India it seems that the use of a ground troops is the first option.

Shukla said one of the unintended consequences of the surgical strike was the political pressure it built on the Modi government and, subsequently, the other governments who will come to power, to either match the operations or better it.


Also read: Modi govt has turned surgical strikes into a shareable post for a selfie stick generation


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6 Comments Share Your Views

6 COMMENTS

  1. Within some months, Pseudo Secular Political Leaders will start alleging that Modi Government is spending huge money on creating Defence Infrastructure.

  2. Surgical strike was necessary for armed forces though the general was not used to quick action plans .congis promotion of armed forces was not for any action to punish the enemies or terror outfit across border .such easy going congi chelas are the problem of Indian defence preparedness,the other being HAL which is the worst .

  3. People in their comment only blame the Modi govt for make in india for a very small period ruling, it is unfair and what about the Congress Govt ruling the country all these years, policy paralysis & misruling the country. To say least
    scandals,scandals and only scandals, corruption is the epitome of family ruling.And India can be ruled by better knowledgeble people without Nehru family, sick of this family.All nation loving people and youth come forward and make this country proud by joining the acive politics and make this country corruption free to attain higher GDP growth to solve all the ills of the country.Jai Bharat Matt.

  4. Looks like Lt Gen. Hooda’s retirement benefits are all cleared and sanctioned. Otherwise why he didn’t open his mouth.

  5. Politicians would do well to remember that it is better to keep quiet and carry a big stick and let actions speak for themselves.

  6. Politicians did their job which is limited to giving approval. Also, there was no HR questioning for it.How else can they help?

    Secondly, going public about it is a Political decision… an American way. It’s a change from taking a beating secretly, and never be offensive (as in earlier regime). Northern Army Commander shall also keep up with changing times. Old must give way to the new (and successful) – going by the media reports.

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