Former Northern Army Commander Lt General DS Hooda, the main architect of the 2016 surgical strikes on terror launch pads in PoK, has been accused of “leaking” details of a report on “right-sizing” the Indian Army. This serious allegation has been labelled at him by the chairperson of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), PS Raghavan, reports India Today.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen Hooda refuted the allegations levelled at him by Raghavan and said he has no recollection of any conference where he divulged the details of the said report.
Challenging the NSAB chief, Lt Gen Hooda said, “We should not let accusations fly loosely. There was no seminar in Manekshaw Centre where I spoke about the report that had been submitted to the NSAB. If there is even one person who can certify that I spoke and divulged details in that seminar then I am at fault, else Raghavan should take back his words.”
Speaking at a lecture on ‘National Security Institutions: Tackling Emerging Challenge’, organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), NSAB chairperson PS Raghavan said that Lt Gen DS Hooda had at a contravened the terms of the agreement on the report that he was preparing for the NSAB.
“We were the people who asked Lt Gen Hooda to prepare the report. It was the NSAB. He actually contravened the terms of the agreement by going public with it. He was not supposed to do it. He gives me a report on which he writes secret and writes copy number 1, 2 and 3. Then he goes to the next Manekshaw Centre conference and says this is what he has said (in the report),” said PS Raghavan.
Incidentally, NSAB chairperson PS Raghavan was being questioned regarding the Task Force report that Lt Gen Hooda had prepared for the Congress. Evading that specific question, the NSAB chairperson chose to speak about Lt Gen Hooda “divulging” details of a classified document.
Recently, Former Northern Army Commander Lt General Hooda was selected by the Congress party to head a task force created by the Gandhi scion to prepare a national security strategy document for the party in the run-up to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The party has promised to remove AFSPA in its manifesto.
However, in his report, Lt General DS Hooda had outrightly refused to have made any reference to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act(AFSPA). He had, in fact, contrary to the Congress manifesto, stressed that AFSPA needs a review because in its present form as it is not providing enough safety to our security forces.
Meanwhile, last year, Lt Gen Hooda was assigned the task to prepare a report by NSAB for “right-sizing” of the Indian Army. As a part of the largest reform programme of the defence forces since India gained Independence in 1947, under PM Modi’s guidance the government has been trying ways to “optimise” the size of the military forces.
The report submitted by Hooda had suggested the possibility of cutting down the size of the 1.2-million strong Indian Army by creating a reserve force that can be called up during a war, making the Special Forces (SF) a strategic resource and setting up a new directorate to accelerate technology induction.
Incidentally, Raghavan gave no clarity on whether Lt Gen Hooda’s suggestions were considered and accepted. He rather called it just an “additional” report.
However, India Today could not verify these serious allegations labelled at Hooda by PS Raghavan challenging his integrity. It is yet to get a response from the NSAB regarding the allegation levelled against Hooda. Similarly, India Today TV is also yet to get a confirmation on any conference held at the Manekshaw Centre where Lt Gen DS Hooda (Retd) supposedly spoke publicly about the details of this “secret” report.