- Lt General DS Hooda oversaw surgical strikes in September 2016
- He will chair a task force on national security for Congress
- He said he hasn't joined Congress, involvement only to task force
Lt General DS Hooda -- who oversaw the cross-border surgical strikes in September 2016 as the former Northern Command chief of the Army -- has been roped in by the Congress to chair a task force on national security and prepare a vision document for the party in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, news agency IANS reported.
The decision was announced by the Congress on Thursday, after a meeting between party president Rahul Gandhi and the retired army official. Lt General Hooda, however, clarified that he has not joined the Congress and his involvement is restricted only to this task force.
"I will pick my own team, which may consist of five to six people. They may be drawn from varied backgrounds such as military, foreign policy experts and even the police," he told news agency IANS. The task force would target to submit a report in about a month's time on various aspects of the national security, the officer added.
Hailing the step, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted: "Yet another positive and welcome step towards a strong nation and stronger national security by Congress President @RahulGandhi. The experience that Lt Gen (Retd) D S Hooda brings in, will benefit the nation in the long run."
Although Lt General Hooda had planned and directed the surgical strikes on terror launchpads across the Line of Control in September 2016, he was not very thrilled about it being "overhyped" and "politicised". "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," he said during an event in December last year.
The army official had approved plans for the special forces to retaliate less than two weeks after the Uri terror attack, in which 19 soldiers were killed by Pakistani terrorists. The Army said the operation succeeded in inflicting "significant casualties" on terrorists waiting there to cross into Indian territory.
(With inputs from IANS)