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Appointing Lt. Gen. Hooda shows Congress' grudging acceptance of surgical strikes: Jaitley


New Delhi, Feb 23: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that induction of Lt General (Retd) D S Hooda to head Congress' task force on national security shows the grand old party's "belated and grudging recognition and acceptance" of surgical strikes.

File photo of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Lt General (Retd) D S Hooda who oversaw the 2016 surgical strikes on terror pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Congress had then raised certains questions on the military operation.

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"Lt. Gen. Hooda is an experienced and distinguished former officer of the Indian Army. I have not the least doubt that he would give a very valuable advice to the grand old Party," Jaitley wrtote in a Facebook post.

"The appointment of General Hooda is significant. It is a belated and grudging recognition and acceptance of the surgical strikes of 2016 with which the General was intrinsically associated. I am sure the Head of the Advisory Panel would educate the Party leaders that the surgical strikes were no routine step which had been taken several times in the past, but a significant first for India," he further wrote.

The party had on Thursday announced that Lt Gen (Retd) D S Hooda, a former Northern Army commander and main architect of the 2016 surgical strikes, would head a Congress task force on national security.

Lt Gen DS Hooda to head Congress task force on national security

The Congress has been accusing the Modi government of politicising the surgical strikes. On September 29, 2016, the Army had carried out the strikes on seven terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in retaliation to an attack on its base in Uri earlier that month.

Last December, responding to a question during a panel discussion at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh, Hooda had said that in hindsight, it would have been better had "we done it (surgical strikes) secretly".

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