Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said it was upto India to decide whether it should withdraw or keep forces deployed in Siachen, and does not need advise from Nawaz Sharif.
Parrikar was in Vadtal, Kheda district of Gujarat, to attend the closing ceremony of a Mahasammelan of retired servicemen under the ‘Akhil Bhartiya Purva Sainik Seva Parishad’ (All India Former Defence Personnels Association).
Speaking at the sidelines of the event, Parrikar said, “whether we should withdraw troops from Siachen or keep them deployed is our decision. We do not need any lessons from Nawaz Sharif and I choose to ignore it.”
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Parrikar replied saying so, when asked to comment about Sharif’s speech at the UN General Assembly on September 30, putting forth a four-point peace initiative with India, which included a proposal of demilitarisation of Kashmir. Parrikar also said that the situation in Kashmir was peaceful and the government was committed to ensuring peace in the valley.
Parrikar said that Make in India was a key program for the defence sector as it was seen as a generator of employment for almost 30 lakh youth, however, advised patience in the implementation of the policy.
Speaking of the overseas deployment of INS Trikand in Istanbul, Parrikar said that Turkey was “our friend” and the exercise would help strengthen friendship.
“Turkey is our friend and INS Trikand has reached Istanbul as part of a joint exercise,” Parrikar said about the stealth frigate of Indian Navy that is currently on a deployment in West Asia, Africa and Europe.
Earlier, Parrikar visited the Swaminarayan temple on arriving in Vadtal, Kheda from Vadodara and proceeded to the stage where he also delivered a 30-minute speech to the gathering of over 2000 former servicemen, reminiscing his younger days in Goa. Parrikar said, as a child, he would often accompany Armymen posted in the state, to show them directions in Goa.
Parrikar addressed the issue of OROP and said the government was committed to its proposal for implementing OROP and said, “The servicemen will receive good news about OROP by Navratri.”
Steering clear of controvesy, however, Parrikar declined to comment on the ongoing reservation stir in Gujarat by various communities, saying that the state government was well equipped to handle the situation.