General Hooda's appointment in Congress acceptance of surgical strikes: Jaitley
By  IANS | Updated:  Feb 23, 2019, 10:05 AM
A day after the Congress formed a committee on national security headed by Lt. General D.S. Hooda (retired), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his appointment was grudging "recognition" and "acceptance" of the 2016 surgical strikes that India carried out to avenge the killing of soldiers in Uri.
In a blog, Jaitley said the new advisor would render advice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi on strategic issues and consistency on national security.
"The appointment of General Hooda is significant. It is a belated and grudging recognition and acceptance of the surgical strikes of 2016 with which the General was intrinsically associated," he said.
"I am sure the Head of the Advisory Panel would educate the party leaders that the surgical strikes were no routine step which had been taken several times in the past, but a significant first for India," he added.
Jaitley said Hooda is an experienced and distinguished former officer of the Indian Army and he does not have the least doubt that the General would give very valuable advice to the grand old party.
He said the party which has ruled the country for over half a century needing to be educated on national security concerns is somewhat intriguing.
Jaitley suggested that the advisor must tell the Congress not to give an impression to the world that India is divided on how to fight terrorism.
"When the world is rallying around India, the Opposition in India should not be striking a discordant note," he said.
He should also tell the Congress not to trivialise a serious national concern like terrorism and if extremists and separatists raise slogans on how to break India, no one from mainstream parties should pay a supporting visit to them, the Minister added.
He said the advisor must tell the Congress not to encourage indiscriminate illegal immigration into India and block steps which are taken to stop it because it harms national security.
Jaitley said that the advisor must also tell the party not to serve petty political gains and politicise defence procurement on false and imaginary facts.
"It hurts defence preparedness," he said, referring to the Rafale fighter jet deal which Gandhi has been continuously taking up to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I am sure there would be many serious inputs relating to the security strategy that experts would give to the Congress party. Ordinary patriotic Indians who do not have the benefit of strategic inputs would also know the response to the above points," he said.
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