Taunting Pakistan with a reference to the spicy chillies of Andhra, and claiming that Ganesha idols made in China have smaller eyes, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar held nothing back during a seminar in New Delhi Wednesday.
Parrikar’s latest remarks came just 12 days after he said that “you have to neutralise terrorist through terrorist only”, while referring to Pakistan, drawing a sharp response from Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Pakistan PM.
At the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on Wednesday, Parrikar also took potshots at Congress leaders on the issue of One Rank One Pension for India’s armed forces, saying if their claim of the cost of the move being “just Rs 500 crore” was true, he would sanction it within a week.
Parrikar further referred to his college days at IIT-Bombay to illustrate the changed security scenario, saying he used to leave the doors to his house in Goa unlocked while going out during those days.
Asked by a journalist on the sidelines of the seminar, titled Design and Make in India – Electronics, to comment on the fact that his remark on neutralising terrorists appeared to have hit Pakistan like a “mirchi” (chilli), Parrikar said, “I will not go into what Pakistan feels about that. But mirchi, woh bhi Andhra ki lagi hai (chilli, and that too from Andhra has hit them).”
Earlier, Parrikar began his approximately 20-minute address with a reference to Ganesha idols made in China to stress the Make in India theme.
“I found that nowadays the eyes are becoming smaller and smaller. One day, I turned it back and found ‘Made in China’. We have the imagination of that particular figure, that particular face… do not be surprised if it slowly changes. So we have to start make in India right from Diwali gifts and our own gods… I think it is quite serious,” he said.
Later, in a bid to depict the changed security scenario, he said, “In 1975, while studying in IIT, all my classmates said they had never gone to Goa. They knew about Goa much more than me. A nude beach, which I had never heard of, they took me to that place for the first time. So they all came to Goa, 10-12 of them. And when we were going to the market… I just latched the door and walked out with them. A friend of mine from Mumbai asked ‘aren’t you locking the door?’ I said, ‘there is no need to lock, we will be back within half an hour’.
“Now that was the security position that time, which is obviously not there now. Therefore we need to be sure that everything is in our hand.” He was referring to the issue of control over defence preparedness.
Parrikar also reiterated his ministry’s plans to legalise the role of representatives or middlemen in defence manufacturing, and define a clear procedure for Make in India in defence.
He said revised procurement procedures would be out by June-July and, taking a dig at the previous government, added, “I underestimated the previous government. It has messed it to such an extent that contrary to my hope that I would repair in three months, it is taking some more time.”
Later, while speaking on a lighter note about the rise in population, Parrikar said, “I remember in 1947-48, when India’s population was 35 crores. I remember my father even when I was a teenager, he used to complain about the very high population growth in India. He went to the extent that he used to tell everyone, his friends, ‘Idhar ek Atom bomb girna chahiye, aur aadhe log jalke khhak (An atom bomb should fall here, and half the people would burn to ashes’). He thought that with one atom bomb we could solve the problem of national population in one go.”
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