December 14, 2015 12:26:33 am
AT HIS 65th birthday celebrations here, that included a public felicitation ceremony, Manohar Parrikar reiterated that as Defence Minister he had given a clear mandate to the defence forces to “not be killed”.
“It was said that soldier is ready to lay down his life for the country. I am against it. Why get killed? Don’t get killed. Kill the enemy. See the record of one year and you will see the result (of the instruction),” he said.
Talking about the operation against militants in Myanmar by the Indian Army following the death of 18 soldiers in an attack in Manipur, Parrikar added, “It was a joint meeting of three hours, it took soldiers three days to prepare, and we carried out the operation. Only after its success was it made public… As per the official statement, we conducted the operation on the Indo-Myanmar border. But one should know to read between the lines.”
Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari and Goa Chief Minister Laxmikanth Parsekar were among those present at the gathering, attended by over 50,000, where Parrikar was hailed as among the most honest and qualified defence ministers of the country.
With the Congress raising questions over the scale of celebrations at the time of the Chennai flood, Parrikar said he had not wanted a public felicitation.
The Defence Minister said he did not require a “certification from the Congress reminding me of my duty”. “They probably don’t know how late in the night, along with the Home Department, we planned the timely deployment of the Army and Navy (for Chennai flood) and how things were carefully coordinated.”
In his speech, Rajnath said, “Be it as leader of Goa or at the Centre, Parrikar is among the few not deterred from taking decisions fearing consequences. It’s not easy when you are taking decisions on a nation’s behalf, signing multi-billion-dollar defence deals.”
Gadkari said Parrikar had “changed the perception that politics is not for the educated”.
The minister defended the decision to move the defence expo to Goa, saying he was interested in the opportunities it could provide to his home state. “We will be out of our tourism season in March, international companies will be lodged in the state for five days. I was hopeful about the amount of employment our taxis and other tourist-related establishments could get.”
He was also asked about his weekend visits to Goa. Parrikar said he wouldn’t stop them despite becoming a Union minister. “Goa is my karmabhoomi,” he said.
The Defence Minister said he liked to go around without security as “having security might not be safe at times”. “They (police) relay message on wireless giving exact position of the VIP,” he said. -with PTI
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.