Gen Rawat dismisses DS Hooda’s ‘surgical strikes’ remark as ‘individual’s perception’

New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday dismissed as “individual person’s perception” the remarks made by former Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda that there were over hype about the 2016 surgical strikes carried out in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

Hooda, who had overseen the surgical strikes conducted across the Line of Control (LoC) on the night of September 28-29, 2016, has triggered a major controversy by saying that constant maintenance of hype around the military operations was unwarranted.

Attending an event in Chandigarh on Friday, he said in response to a question that “in hindsight, it would have been better had we done it (surgical strikes) secretly.”

Asked about the remarks made by Hooda, General Rawat told ANI on Saturday: “These are individual person’s perception. So let’s not comment on them.”

The Army Chief noted that Hooda was “one of the main persons involved in the conduct of these operations. So, I respect his words very much.”

Hooda, however, maintained on Saturday that there was too much hype about the surgical strikes.

“I do think there was too much hype over it. The military operation was important and we had to do it. Now how much should it have been politicised, whether it is right or wrong, is something that should be asked to politicians,” the former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command told ANI.

The surgical strikes were conducted after a terror attack on an Army camp in Uri in Kashmir on September 18, 2016, in which 19 soldiers were killed. The Indian Army said several terrorist launch pads were destroyed and many terrorists were killed in the operation.

Incumbent Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, while commenting on Hooda’s remarks, said, “Surgical strike is one of the options available to the Army. It had a positive effect on country, We’ve been able to curb terrorism to a great extent.”

Hooda, while participating in the discussion in Chandigarh on Friday, also said that the aim of any offensive like the surgical strikes has to be strategic besides being tactical as it substantially affects the morale of the enemy.

He added that India needs to be pro-active and have an unpredictable response considering the happenings on the LoC.