Retired Lieutenant General DS Hooda, who oversaw the “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control in 2016, on Saturday said cross-border operations have been conducted in the past too, PTI reported. Hooda denounced political parties using the operations for political mileage. He was the Northern Army Commander in September 2016 when Indian troops carried out “surgical strikes” on terror launch pads across the Line of Control.

Hooda was speaking at an event on India’s national security. “It is not a good thing to bring the Army in poll campaign by political parties,” Hooda said. “The Election Commission too has said this. Ultimately, it’s the institution which suffers damage in long term.”

When asked to comment on the Congress’ claim that its government had conducted six surgical strikes, Hooda said, “Certainly cross-border operations have been carried out by the Indian Army in the past too. I am not aware of the exact dates and areas.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mocked the Congress for claiming that six surgical strikes were conducted during the time of the United Progressive Alliance government. Modi had said nobody seemed to know about these strikes.

The previous day, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla had listed the dates and places of where six surgical strikes were purportedly conducted under the United Progressive Alliance administration.

In February, the Congress had said Hooda will lead the party’s task force to set up a vision paper on India’s national security. In December 2018, Hooda had said the 2016 surgical strikes were overhyped.