Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said he will work for “the targeted completion of whatever is required to strengthen the defence of India”.
Speaking to reporters at Uttar Pradesh BJP headquarters after filing his nomination for Rajya Sabha, Parrikar declined to comment on India’s relationship with its neighbours, saying the issue is sensitive.
“I came to know that I had become defence minister only at 11.35 pm yesterday (Sunday). Give me some time, let me understand the ministry. I was the chief minister of Goa. I was not even at the Centre. Give me a week’s time and I will get to know everything. I will talk to the Prime Minister and then reply,” he said.
Parrikar filed his nomination papers at the UP assembly, accompanied by Union Ministers Kalraj Mishra, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and state BJP leaders.
Before leaving for a Union cabinet meeting, he told reporters that he was “very proud” to have filed his nomination for Rajya Sabha from UP. “This state has given great leaders. This is land of Rama and Krishna. UP has been the starting point of history. I consider myself lucky,” Parrikar said, adding that he was grateful to the party, MLAs and “most importantly the people of UP”.
“I can assure you that I will serve not only the nation, but will also ensure that my abilities are used to the fullest for UP,” he said.
To a question on lack of sainik schools in UP, he remarked in a lighter vein, “Chinta karne ki koi baat nahi hai (there is no need to worry). Both the Home minster and the Prime Minister are from here. Now, even the defence minister is from UP. Kya dikkat hai ab (what is the problem now)?”
“I have a cabinet meeting to attend. I will come in November-December and will talk to you and answer all your questions,” Parrikar said. “I don’t like to speak Hindi interspersed with English words. Don’t worry. I will completely learn Hindi in 2-4 months,” said the Defence Minister.