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On surgical strikes, did Lt Gen Hooda walk into a trap: Veterans explain

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New Delhi, Jan 16: Former Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda stirred a hornet's nest by saying that the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Special forces in 2016 were politicised and overhyped. The strikes were carried out to obliterate some of the terror launch pads across the Line of Control.

Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda

Lieutenant General Hooda was in the thick of things when strikes were planned and efficiently carried out. So, two years after the strikes, if he comes and says it was politicised, then it is bound to give ammo to the opposition parties to corner the government. One question that would come to anyone's mind is why did Lt Gen Hooda wait for two years to say it. If he was so miffed with the way it was publicised, then he could have told the government then to not over overboard about the surgical strikes.

Shortly after Lt Gen Hooda spoke about strikes at a military literature festival, Congress president Rahul Gandhi lauded him and trained his gun at PM Modi. "Spoken like a true soldier General" tweeted Rahul and went on to chide Modi by saying that the Prime Minister has no shame in using military achievement for political gains. Congress went all guns blazing against the ruling government and the issue took a serious political turn. So, in a way, it was Lt Gen Hooda who actually politicised it, and two years after strikes were carried out, the issue once again took centre stage at political debates on TV channels.

OneIndia spoke to some Army veterans about the issue and tried to find why Lt Gen Hooda may have said things which he could have avoided. The veterans felt that that the job of the Army was to carry out the operations, and how the ruling government portrayed it was none of their business.

Strategic affairs expert Col Jaibans Singh explained to us the circumstances that led Lt Gen Hooda to say certain things which he otherwise may not have. The Colonel hinted that there could have been a political planning behind it.

"Lt Gen Hooda's comment was made during a military literature festival held in Chandigarh under the aegis of the Punjab government which is a Congress government. Government organised the event, then why did they have a discussion on surgical strikes in it. When they have themselves made it a part of the program, then who has politicised it. Why did they bring up the topic? First, you bring up the topic then you say it has been politicised. The entire military literature festival was the brainchild of the Congress government. All those speaking over there were chosen by the Congress. So who has politicised it? You organise an event, choose the topics and then things said have been picked by the media, and then you say the government is politicising it," Col Jaibans Singh told OneIndia.

[What the Army veterans say about politicising surgical strikes]

Major General PK Sehgal minced no words and said it was Lt Gen Hooda who 'inadvertently' politicised surgical strikes.

"I do not agree with Gen Hooda's views at all. I have the highest respect for him. He was the commander of the northern army who planned and executed this operation. After that, whether the government exploits it or does not exploit it, the army has got nothing to do with it. See how Rahul Gandhi tweeted and thanked Gen Hooda. So inadvertently, Hooda has politicised it," Maj Gen Sehgal told Oneindia.

The Major General said before pointing fingers at the ruling government, one must look at the larger picture. The government took a big risk by giving a go-ahead to the army for carrying out such a risky operation. Had the operation failed then the government would have had to take the blame for it. So, in that sense, if the government took the risk, then there is nothing wrong in going gaga over it.

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