Panaji: Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda, who led the surgical strike in the year 2016 and who has drawn close to the Congress lately, said on Saturday that while the Modi government had shown a major political resolve in allowing the Army for cross-border attacks, the Army was never stopped.
Hooda, speaking at the Goa Fest, however, went on and on about retaliatory firing from the Indian side to Pakistan’s violations of the ceasefire.
Goa Fest is an annual event organised by some advertisement companies.
Last year, the Congress proudly declared Operation Ginger, which they said was a previous chapter of a surgical strike, had been conducted in its era. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to know what kind of strike it was.
Hooda said, “The present government has certainly shown a huge political resolve in tackling cross-border border terrorism and airstrikes in Balakot, but even before that your Army was not constrained.”
The surgical strike hero said, “There has been a lot of talk about giving the Army a ‘free hand’, but since 1947, the Army has been free along the border. It has fought three or four wars.”
Hooda said, “The Line of Control is a dangerous place because, as I said, you are fired at and the soldiers present on the front gives an immediate reply. They (soldiers) will not ask even me. The Army is allowed a free hand. That’s how it has always been. There is no alternative.”
Hooda condemned even such statements seeking evidence on military operations. He said, “Please trust your senior military officers. When the director general of military operations openly says that there has been a surgical strike, obviously there is no reason to doubt it.”
Retired Lieutenant General said that the armed forces have not seen any political interference under any government. “As a mediator in military affairs, I can say fairly and honestly that the political leaders never interfered in how a military campaign should be run. No one has told us how to conduct ourselves along the LoC and what we ought to do. ”
Hooda reveals surgical strike history, details
Hooda had led the Northern Command of the Army during the cross-LoC surgical strike after the Uri terrorist attack in September 2016. Hooda is now leading the Congress workforce on national security.
Recalling the Uri terrorist attack, Hooda said, “That evening, I was with the Chief of Army Staff. And we were passing through a four-inch-thick layer of ashes of tents, saying that we got to do something; we cannot let it go like this. ”
The veteran said, “While we were talking about options, what helped was the fact that for the last one year we had been engaged in training for such an accidental situation. We did not know when that opportunity would come.”
The retired soldier said, “Before the Uri attack, the Special Forces was being prepared for the last one year. If we have to cross the border into Pakistan, we have to do what we have to do.”
Hooda said, “When we see the soldiers going across the border and returning after liquidating the terrorists, it means, in their entire life, all that they have done is work, work and work. In the Army, we say that the more you sweat during peace-time, the less blood you need to sacrifice during the war.”
Hooda said, “We decided to target five terror camps across the LoC. It was a very intriguing campaign. It is one of the best guarded boundaries in the world. We decided to go beyond this, where there are camps of terrorists. We decided to target them and come back.”
He said that the Army was very ‘confident’ because the security forces had received excellent training.
Hooda said, “And if I tell the truth, I trusted the advice. You are alone to take decisions at the top level, and if you avoid consulting, then you may go wrong.” He said, “We had to fix our targets at different times.”
Hooda said, “On the night of 27 September (two days before the surgical strike), we received information that one of these terror camps was fortified and activated. We were wondering whether we should keep it in the target list or not. ”
He said, “After this, we decided to send a small team of four or five people and keep the focus on our target. We decided to take the risk because it was necessary. These were some people who showed us the path the next day.”
Hooda said, “We struck the first target at midnight and the final one at 6 AM. There was a gap of six hours between these two rounds of attack. After the first target, we were concerned Pakistan Army might have been alerted, that they might quickly secure the other possible targets.” He said, “Fortunately, we succeeded in keeping the surprise.”
How justified Modi is in claiming credit for military action
Lt Gen (retd) Hooda on Saturday mixed up surgical strikes with other forms of retaliatory military action. Modi has rightly never claimed that the surgical strike of 2016 was the only event of the type in the history of the Indian Army. But then, other than Indira Gandhi and him, no other civilian government allowed the Army to cross the border or the LoC.
In a post dated December 2018, Surajit Dasgupta, founder of Sirf News, wrote on Facebook, “… other than the wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, the political executive had never ordered the Army to cross the LoC or the international border.”
“What happens on a regular basis — which neither the Army nor the political executive tomtoms as surgical strikes — is retaliation by the unit of our Army that has been attacked by Pakistan,” Dasgupta wrote.
“This fellow-feeling is, Dasgupta continued, “so strong among our soldiers that if one of our jawans is hit by a Pakistani regular or a terrorist, the very unit to which the jawan belonged will penetrate Pakistani territory and deal double the casualty on the side of the enemy. No targeting of our Army by Pakistan goes unanswered; no martyrdom of our soldier goes unavenged.”
The full post is embedded below.