New Delhi: While firmly denying that he had joined the Congress, Lt Gen (retired) D S Hooda said on Friday that he would be leading the Task Force set up by the party’s President Rahul Gandhi. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Requests UGC to Cancel Exams And Pass Students on Past Performance, Twitter Trends #SpeakUpForStudents

Speaking to ANI, Hooda, the Northern Army Commander during the 2016 surgical strike, said, “It’s a task I am happy to do…The Task Force has been set up on the initiative of Congress party, but as far as I am personally concerned, I have not joined the Congress party.” Also Read - 'Goondaraj in UP': Opposition Targets Yogi Government After 8 Policemen Killed in Kanpur

Explaining the purpose behind the Task Force, Hooda said, “They (Congress) requested me if I could lead a Task Force which will look at our national security challenges, internal and external, and come out with a vision document that should guide our diplomatic & security policies, say for over a period of the next five years.” Also Read - 'Should've Asked PM to Speak': Maharashtra Minister Slams Sharad Pawar For Defending Centre Over Galwan Valley

Hooda, who has criticized the “needless politicization and over-hyping” of the surgical strikes, hopes to submit the vision document in a month or so.

Speaking to a leading daily, he said, “The task-force will include some from the armed forces, diplomats for external security and police experts who have dealt with the Maoist insurgency. I am hopeful the vision paper will start a debate on what India’s national security strategy should be for the next 5-10 years,” said the senior officer.

Hooda’s inclusion is being seen as a political coup. Congress insiders told a daily that the vision document on national security for the next five years will be readied and presented by the party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

But it is not clear yet whether the document will be presented separately or as a part of the Congress manifesto.

Interestingly, Hooda thinks India must consider the use of military options after the Pulwama terror attack because the diplomatic offensive against Pakistan has failed to deliver, said the daily.