Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi after ex-Army officer says ‘surgical strike was overhyped’

New Delhi: After Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda on Friday said it was natural to have an initial euphoria over the success of surgical strike carried out by the Army across the Line of Control two years ago but the constant hype around the operation was unwarranted, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took a jibe at Modi government.

Gen Hooda, who had monitored on live video feed the precision attack on terrorist launch pads in September 2016, had approved the special forces operation in retaliation to the killing of 19 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri by Pakistani terrorists.

“Spoken like a true soldier General. India is so proud of you. Mr 36 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,” Rahul Gandhi 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.”

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.”

Ministers in the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have often highlighted the surgical strike as an achievement the country should be proud of and not to be kept hidden. The opposition has, however, alleged that the government’s continuous use of the surgical strike narrative amounts to misusing the military’s work for political ends.