Balakot Operation, Surgical Strikes Strong Response to Pak-based Terror, Says Lt Gen Hooda

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Lieutenant General DS Hooda (Ret.) said that the cross-border surgical strikes carried out by the army in 2016 and the air attack carried out by the Indian Air Force in 2019 on Pakistan’s Balakot demonstrated India’s strong response to the attacks of terrorist groups based in Pakistan. News18 in an interview.

The decorated Army officer had led surgical strikes across the Line of Control in 2016 as Commander of the Northern Army.

The military carried out the surgical strikes in response to the terrorist attack on its base in Uri in 2016, which killed 18 soldiers. Operation Balakot was carried out by the Israeli Air Force in 2019 just days after a terrorist attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force in Pulwama killed 40 people.

Asked if India’s retaliation represented a shift in the way the armed forces operate, he said the main task of the army is to address the external threat and prepare for cross-border operations.

Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retired)
Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retired). pic/twitter file

“Therefore, I will not classify the strikes of 2016 and 2019 as major turning points in the ways in which the armed forces operate, except that the operational readiness to conduct such operations now must be at a higher level,” he said. However, Uri and Balakot showed that the government will respond forcefully to major terrorist attacks emanating from terrorist groups based in Pakistan. This is a specific policy statement.”

Lieutenant General Hooda said there have been some major developments for the armed forces in the past eight years of the Modi government, the most significant of which are the appointment of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and the lifting of the Department of Military Affairs. (DMA).

Reforms in the military are long overdue, particularly with regard to joint capabilities development and restructuring for greater integration of the three services. He said the late CDS (General Bipin Rawat) was spearheading these works.

Lieutenant General Hooda told News18 that there had also been a more focused push toward infrastructure development along the northern border.

“Inadequate infrastructure has been hampering our operational readiness along the LAC region, and while it will take some time to build roads and tunnels, the momentum is there,” he added.

He said that self-reliance in defense equipment was also one of the important areas of payment for the government.

“Again, this is not something that can be achieved immediately, but there is a very strong motive to promote localization which is absolutely necessary if India is to emerge as a strong military power,” he said.

It is baffling that the new CDS is not set

In response to a question about the main problems plaguing the defense and security sector at the moment, Lieutenant-General Hooda said that he needs to make sure that the process of military reform is not slowed down.

“This operation was led by the late CDS, and it is baffling that the new CDS was not appointed after the very tragic incident of General Bipin Rawat,” he said, adding that without the Chief of Defense Staff at his head, restructuring the army and developing joint capabilities could suffer.

“Our military modernization is not keeping pace with the future challenges we face, particularly from China,” he said.

The former army officer said there was a need for a serious discussion about how to achieve this.

“Do we need to reduce the size of the army, what kind of capabilities will be required to fight in the future, and what technologies should be adopted? These are some of the questions that need to be discussed.

“The tour of duty will change the nature of the Indian Army.”

Lt. Gen. Hooda said that much of the focus of military reforms appears to be on reducing the salary and pension burden.

“I agree that the burden is great,” he said, “but we must also recognize that the military is only as good as the men and women who make up it.” He added that the volunteer and mobile military force was one of India’s greatest strengths.

He said, “Therefore, ideas like ‘duty tour’, which will be a major transformation in the character of the Indian Army, should be implemented after considering the repercussions.

China should take steps to defuse the crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean

Speaking of the ongoing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh, Lieutenant General Hooda said it was now clear that there would be no early solution to the crisis.

However, I believe that there is no choice but to remain resolute in our position to restore the status quo ante. This is the only way to achieve stability along the Latin American and Caribbean region and rebuild trust between the two militaries.”

Unless the PLA withdraws, he said, mistrust and tension will remain and the overall bilateral relations between the two countries will continue to be negatively affected.

“Frankly, the ball is in China’s court; they started the crisis, and they should take steps to defuse it.

The government’s highest priority

According to General Hooda, the government’s first priority should be to announce the National Security Strategy for India, as the absence of this has precluded a comprehensive approach to both external and internal security challenges.

“I am not suggesting that India has not been successful in dealing with the challenges, but that there would have been greater coherence if there had been a national strategy guiding all the tools of the government,” he said. Second, regional and geopolitical competition with China is likely to intensify in the future.

Lieutenant General Hooda said India is already witnessing China’s use of military force to assert its territorial and maritime claims.

“India should build its military capacity to ensure that it is not coerced by China along Latin America and the Caribbean or in the Indian Ocean,” he said. “This will require some deep and long-term thinking on the part of both the political and military leadership.”

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