India can plan and execute another Surgical Strike on terror camps operating from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the Army General who supervised the 2016 Surgical Strikes said on Friday. Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda said if India needs to send a strong message to Pakistan by conducting a commando operation similar to 2016 then Indian forces are fully capable of doing so.
Lt General Hooda said that the decision to target terror camps across the LoC came from the Centre and the military readily agreed to it.
"Decision finally came from political leadership but military was in agreement that we needed to do something. If we want to send another strong response to Pakistan in the future we can definitely do it again," Lt General Hooda told news agency ANI.
The Army released the video footage of September 29, 2016 earlier this week triggering a war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition Congress. The video, which was shot from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and cameras mounted on helmets of commandos who took part in the operations, showed how our soldiers destroyed terror camps based in PoK.
While the BJP accused the Congress of questioning the commitment and courage of the armed forces and lowering its morale, the Congress said that the ruling party was using valour of the Army for political gains.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Congress party's criticism of Surgical Strike would only boost the morale of Pakistani terrorists and he hoped that very soon the grand old party would get a certificate from some terrorist organisation.
"The people who will be most happy with the statements of leaders of Congress party are the terrorists in Pakistan. Congress will get a certificate from some terrorist organisations of Pakistan just like Ghulam Nabi Azad got the certificate from Lashkar-e-Taiba," Prasad said.
Recalling that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had termed Surgical Strike 'khoon ki dalali', Prasad asked the opposition party to answer if it considers the video real or not and approves of the surgical strikes or not. "Questions like why the video was released now and where it came from are not relevant," he added.
Earlier in the day, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also attacked the Congress and said that the party's language was like those who want to divide the country.
“How shameful that the Congress party was first asking for proof of Surgical Strike from the Army and now they are doing politics over it,” Rijiju added.
The Congress had earlier came out all guns blazing against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and said the present government was trying to take benefit out of the Surgical Strike by the Army and convert it into a vote bank.
Many Surgical Strikes took place before also, said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala adding that the Indian Army has always made country proud.
"Modi govt is exploiting the slogan of 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' and trying to win votes through Surgical Strike. The nation wants to ask them did Atal Bihari Vajpayee & Manmohan Singh boast of the success of Army operations during their tenure, just like them?" asked Surjewala.
Citing a report, he said, "68 percent weapons of the Army are old and unusable and after Doklam no money was given for modernisation of the Army."
He also alleged discrimination on the part of Modi government towards Indian Army and said, “From past one year, BJP has stopped food supply of the Army and imposed GST on items of the central canteen."
Talking about unrest in the Kashmir, Surjewala said, “Government has failed in controlling Pakistan sponsored terrorism."
Watch: EXCLUSIVE video of 2016 Surgical Strikes