Hyping surgical strikes wrong, says Gen behind ’16 operation
jkupdate.com | 08-Dec-2018 08:34 AM
  • Lt Gen DS Hooda (retd), former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command.

CHANDIGARH:Senior armed forces veterans on Friday sounded a note of caution against the politicisation of military operations and building up of a hype that could have a detrimental effect on the planning of future operations.

Speaking on cross-border operations and surgical strikes at the Military Literature Festival here, Lt Gen DS Hooda (retd), former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, who had supervised the surgical strikes, said the overhype following the 2016 surgical strikes across the Line of Control proved to be of little help. 

“It isn’t good to have political dissonance in military matters and all parties need to come together on a common platform at least in the strategic arena. In this case, there was too much political banter on both sides,” he said.

Emphasising that some publicity was required in this case as too many questions were being raised in civilian and military domain over the series of terror attacks on defence installations, Lt Gen Hooda warned that surgical strikes were high-risk operations and publicising these could impact thinking and  impose a sense of caution on the leadership. Dubbing cross-border operations at the tactical level a way of life on the LoC, Lt Gen Hooda said it was for the first time that such an operation had been carried out at such a large scale, involving five raids in operational area of two corps, with approval coming in from the highest political level.

“There was a fair amount of panic on the other side and the Pakistani army was completely shocked. That’s why they didn’t respond,” he said. The raids were planned as retribution to terror attacks and were not the result of any strategic thought process, he said, adding that their success resulted in moral dominance and raised the morale of Indian troops.

“The trend of politicians questioning the Army at public forums is the biggest threat to military operations and needs to be guarded against,” former Army Chief Gen VP Malik (retd) remarked. 

Lt Gen NS Brar (retd), former Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, said the most critical issue involving cross-border operations was these should serve larger national and strategic objectives, which he “wasn’t too sure had been done in this case”.

Pointing out that cross-border operations were intended to make sure that any terrorist strike became cost-prohibitive to the enemy, Lt Gen JS Cheema (retd), former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, said such strikes were meant for tactical assertiveness along the LoC and it would be too simplistic to assume these would make Pakistan change its strategy. “We must have an effective response mechanism because inaction will only embolden the enemy,” he added.

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