In a way refuting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims during election rallies that his government’s surgical strike checked Pakistan, Indian Army’s former Northern Command Chief DS Hooda, who directed the 2016 cross-LoC surgical strikes, has said one surgical strike or air strike won’t make Pakistan change its behaviour.
Speaking at a panel discussion ‘Beyond politics: Debating a new security manifesto’, he said dealing with Pakistan requires long-term, dialogue-based planning and also engagement on nuclear issues. “One surgical or air strike will not force Pakistan to change its behaviour. Dealing with Pakistan requires a long-term strategic policy,” he said.
Hooda also presented the salient features of his report ‘India’s National Security Strategy’, which he submitted to Congress president Rahul Gandhi last month. The report outlines ways to maintain India’s relations with its neighbouring countries, as well as measures to resolve internal conflicts of the country.
For Jammu and Kashmir, he suggested to tackling both the transnational and internal dimension. He also asked for an empathetic approach towards the population, with a clearly defined political objective and well-crafted information campaign.
While addressing reporters, Hooda also came down heavily on BJP leader and Bhopal candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for her remarks against 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare. Thakur — accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts — while detailing the alleged torture inflicted on her said Karkare had passed away as she had “cursed” him. Condemning the statement, Hooda said it was painful to see martyrs being insulted and the forces must be respected.