Lt General (retd) D S Hooda, a former Northern Army commander, who now heads the Congress’ task force on national security, while speaking at an event Friday said special forces were training for the strike almost a year before the Uri terror attack.
Recalling the Uri terror attack, Hooda said, “That evening, I was there with the Chief of Army Staff and we were walking through four inches thick ash from burnt tents.”
“And we were saying that we have to do something, we cannot just let this pass. When we were talking of options, what helped us was that, for the past one year, we had been training for such a contingency. We did not know whether it would come,” he said.
Hooda headed the the Army’s Northern Command when special forces commandos carried out a cross-border operation in September 2016 after the Uri terror attack, in which 19 soldiers were killed.
“For the past one year (before Uri attack), special forces were preparing…that if we had to do a cross-border raid in Pakistan, how exactly we would do it,” Hooda added.
“When you see soldiers who go across the border and carry out raids on terrorist camps and come back, it is because all through their lives, they have worked and worked and worked,” he said.
“In the Army, we have a saying. The more you sweat in peace, the less you will bleed in war. It (surgical strike) cannot be a small operation and it had to be done on a scale so that it gives out a very strong message to Pakistan,” he said.
“Therefore, we decided on five terror camp targets which were across the border. It was a hugely complex operation. It is one of the most heavily guarded borders in the world. So we had to go across, get into the depth where their terror camps are, hit them and return,” he said.
Hooda said the Army was “very confident” as special forces are extremely well-trained.