"The Indian Army was created for an independent India. Since then, the Indian Army and other security forces have remained apolitical. It has been a great boon for our democracy," said Lt Gen Hooda while speaking to ANI.
This comes after the several senior armed forces veterans denied writing a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind over alleged politicisation of the services with former Army Chief General Sunith Francis Rodrigues calling it “a classic manifestation of fake news.”
On being asked about the purported letter, which went viral on social media, Lt Gen Hooda said: "I don't want to talk about the specific letter or whether it should or should not be written."
"I think the larger issue is that there is some concern during the election period that the name of the army, military and air force is being dragged into the political discourse."
"I think this should not be done. Even the principal stand taken by the Election Commission says that we should not invoke the army in the election campaign," he said.
Underlying the need of keeping out the Army from political discourse, Let Gen Hooda said: "Political parties shall make sure that they keep the army out of the political discourse."
Lt Gen Hooda further praised the Indian Army for taking action against Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad.
"By launching multiple airstrikes at a Jaish camp, the defence service has displayed its professionalism. The surgical strikes would make Pakistan think thrice before attacking India," he said.
Earlier in the day, a Rashtrapati Bhawan source had said that the President has not received any letter written by a group of former officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
“I do not know what it is all about. All my life, we have been apolitical. After 42 years as an officer, it is a little late to change. We have always put India first. I do not know who these people are and it (the letter with names of officers) is a classic manifestation of fake news,” General Rodrigues had said.
Former Air Chief Marshal NC Suri had said, “This is not Admiral Ramdas’ letter. It has been done by some Major Chaudhary. He has written this letter and this was coming on WhatsApp and emails. To put an end to it, I wrote that armed forces are apolitical and support the politically elected government.”
“My consent has not been taken for any such letter. And I do not agree with whatever has been written in that letter... We have been misquoted by this Major Chaudhary,” he had added.
Former Army Vice Chief Lt General ML Naidu, who figured in the purported letter, had said, “No, my consent has not been taken for any such letter and neither have I written any such letter.”
However, when reached out by ANI, Major General Harsha Kakkar, an ex-officer who was also named in the letter, said, “Yes, I had given my consent for being a signatory to the letter. I had given my consent only after knowing the contents of it.” (ANI)