We can do it again: Former Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D S Hooda justifies surgical strikes, celebrationsSep 29,2018 SOURCE: Times Now Digital
Lt Gen D S Hooda, the former Northern Army Commander on Friday said that the surgical strikes were a balanced political-military operation and expressed confidence that the Special Forces of the Indian Army were capable of carrying out a similar operation if required. Commenting on the changed political leadership in Pakistan, Hooda said that no change could be expected until the military leadership in the country changed.
Responding to the criticism on the commemoration of the surgical strikes by the Opposition, Hooda said that the Indian soldiers are working in a challenging situation on a day-to-day basis. “I think it is time the country knows about their contribution. I see no harm if the country wants to celebrate the soldier,” he said in an exclusive interview to Times Now channel.
Expressing the disappointment within the military brass over the politicisation of the anniversary of the surgical strikes, Hooda said that politics is ‘far’ from military establishment and said, “We had a task to do. Even today, as far as the Army is concerned, politics is far from us. Unfortunately, the debate does not affect the political parties, but it also drags in the military… There will obviously be disappointment that this has got vitiated. We should stop the debate and join the celebrations.”
Hooda said that when Uri attacks took place, it was not only a political decision, but also a military decision that we have to go across LoC and so something large and strong. “There was a thought within the military leadership that we couldn’t be seen as completely defensive sitting across in our area. Therefore it was a collective decision- starting from political leadership and the military leadership as well as soldiers who participated in the action,” Hooda said.
He added that the Indian Army had been training and planning for the strikes for almost a year. “The final selection took place after the attack on Uri garrison. The selection was based on launchpads. They are not always occupied by terrorists. We knew we had to do the operation in one night. We have been doing cross-border operations. But the scale and magnitude was completely different. Going in and striking targets at different times, the risks, the number of soldiers who went across, the critical need to get them back safely were the factors that were considered while deciding the targets,” he said.
Adding that the strategic objective was to send a strong message to “our own people and to the Pakistanis that we will come and hit you where we feel like and to the international community that this is not a defensive country” was sent across “strongly”. Interestingly, Hooda said that the Pakistani said was caught unaware when the Indian commandos crossed over and went into Pakistani territory. “I was surprised by the complete lack of response from the other side. We have seen the terrain, we have seen the ground, we have outstanding soldiers. I asked my special forces officer, a few days later, and he said he had the plan and could do it again.”
“I have no doubt that we can do it again. Our special forces are outstanding officers and they can do it again,” he added.