Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a blog said Lt General Hooda’s induction into the Congress was “belated and grudging recognition and acceptance” of the surgical strike of 2016. (PTI)
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took another swipe at the Congress in Friday, saying that the party’s induction of Lt General (Retd) D S Hooda who oversaw the 2016 surgical strikes on terror pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, to craft its national security manifesto ahead of the general elections, was a “belated and grudging recognition and acceptance” of the operation.
The BJP had earlier accused the Congress of disrespecting the armed forces by raising questions on the military operation. Congress president Rahul Gandhi had earlier said that the UPA government had ordered three surgical strikes but never publicised it like the NDA did.
In a Facebook blog, Jaitley commended General Hooda saying, “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.”
And then he took a dig at Congress. “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 wrote.
But Jaitley found the retired general’s appointment “intriguing”.
“The Party which has ruled the country for over half a century should need to be educated on national security concerns is somewhat intriguing.”
General Hooda was in charge of the surgical strike across the LoC on September 29, 2016 in retaliation to an attack on an army base in Uri earlier that month that killed 19 soldiers.
Last December, General Hooda warned that the constant hype around the surgical strikes was unwarranted.