‘Surgical strikes for political capital’: Rahul Gandhi tweets jibe at Narendra Modi
A former Army commander’s strong comment against the “constant hype” around military operations prompted a sharp attack on the government from the Congress. Party president Rahul Gandhi complimented the retired army officer for his stand in a tweet but packed in a stinging jab at Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well.
Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda, the retired officer who disapproved the hype, was the Northern Army Commander in September 2016 when commandos crossed the line of control to destroy terror camps in Pakistan.
“Mr 36 [sic] has absolutely no shame in using our military as a personal asset. He used the surgical strikes for political capital and the Rafale deal to increase Anil Ambani’s real capital by 30,000 Cr,” Referring to Lt Gen Hooda’s comments, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday tweeted.
While moderating a discussion on “Role of cross-border operations and surgical strikes” on Day 1 of the Military Literature Festival, Lt Gen Hooda had said, “The military leadership must guard against becoming a tool in the hands of politicians. We can’t take military action to suit someone politically,” he said. The excess hype, he admitted, didn’t help. “There were selective leaks to the media, and too much political banter around it.”
In his tweet, Rahul Gandhi lauded Lt Gen Hooda’s comments. “Spoken like a true soldier General. India is so proud of you,” he tweeted.
Speaking about Lt Gen Hooda’s comments, Army chief Bipin Rawat said, “These are an individual person’s perceptions, so let’s not comment on them. He was one of the main persons involved in conduct of these operations, so I respect his words very much.”
GOC Northern Command, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, said, “Surgical strike is one of the options available to Army. It had a positive effect on country, we’ve been able to curb terrorism to a great extent.”
The army’s surgical strikes in the early hours of September 29, 2016 was a response to an attack on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri on September 18 in which 19 soldiers were killed. India blames the attack on militants who crossed over from Pakistani territory.