In a coup of sorts, Congress on Thursday roped in the army general who planned and executed the 2016 surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to head the task force on national security.
Lt General Deepender Singh Hooda, who headed the Northern Command of the Indian Army, met Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who requested him to head the task force on national security.
“The Congress President is setting up a Task Force on National Security to prepare a vision paper for the country. Retired Lt Gen D S Hooda will lead the task force and prepare a paper in consultation with a select group of experts,” AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal said in a statement here.
Lt Gen Hooda had been mildly critical of the Modi government's politicisation of the surgical strikes and disapproved of the “hype” around them.
Lt Gen Hooda will not be joining the Congress party but preparing the report as an independent security expert.
He helmed Army affairs in the Northern Command when Kashmir was in the grip of stone pelting incidents following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.
After a brief lull post Pulwama attack, Congress on Thursday launched an all-out offensive on the Modi government, questioning the lapse in intelligence gathering.