DS Hooda, a former Northern Army commander and main architect of the 2016 surgical strikes on terror launch pads in PoK, will head a Congress task force on national security. Party president Rahul Gandhi met Hooda and discussed the modalities of the panel. "The Congress president is setting up a 'task force on national security' to prepare a vision paper for the country," a party statement said.
Hooda will lead the panel and prepare the paper in consultation with a select group of experts, it said.
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."
In another tweet, she said, "The only thing they will find is Surgical Strike and How's the josh?! :))"
Reacting to the development, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said the Congress couldn't have had a better officer to advise them on national security.
"Lt Gen Hooda is a credit to the uniform he has worn. I had the privilege of having him as my security advisor when he headed 16 corps in Nagrota," he tweeted.
The Congress has been accusing the Modi government of politicising the surgical strikes. On September 29, 2016, the Army had carried out the strikes on seven terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in retaliation to an attack on its base in Uri earlier that month.
Last December, responding to a question during a panel discussion at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh, Hooda had said that in hindsight, it would have been better had "we done it (surgical strikes) secretly".
He had also said the initial euphoria about the success of the surgical strikes was natural but the constant maintenance of the hype around the military operation was unwarranted.