Surgical Strike was overhyped and politicised: Former Army commander of Northern Command, Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda, has said it was natural to have an initial euphoria over the success of 2016 Surgical Strike but the constant hype around the military operation was unwarranted. Lt Gen DS Hooda was Chief of the Northern Command of the Army when the surgical strike was executed in 2016. Lt Gen Hooda made the remark during a panel discussion on the Role of Cross-Border Operations and Surgical Strikes. Responding to a question on the issue of Surgical Strike, he said Surgical Strike was overhyped and politicised. Hooda said it was important to send a clear message to Pakistan.

The Surgical Strikes were carried out by special commanders of Indian Army on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The Army had conducted the cross-operation on September 29, 2016, days after Uri attack. On September 18, 2016, 20 Indian soldiers were killed when Pakistan-based terrorists had entered the Army headquarters in Uri.

It was reported that the Surgical Strike was cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Videos of Surgical Strikes were made public this year in September, on the second anniversary of the strike. Then Defence Minister Manohar Parriker, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, then Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag and Northern Army Commander DS Hooda had jointly deliberated the plan of this covert strike.

The Opposition has time and again accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre of politicising September 2016 surgical strikes. The Congress had contended that the paramount sacrifice of the country’s brave soldiers cannot be a vote-garnering tool for the saffron party.

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