The day he took over, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar assured transparent and speedy acquisition of critical equipment. The former Goa chief minister, who described his new assignment as a “highly sensitive ministry”, expressed confidence that he would go ahead “with speed” on the work his predecessor Arun Jaitley had started.
“Whatever will be there will be transparent and fast-processed; that is my specialty,” Parrikar told reporters.
He began the day in Lucknow by filing a nomination for the Rajya Sabha, flew back to Delhi and took charge as India’s 36th defence minister, then held a quick meeting with ministry officials and the three service chiefs, followed by a cabinet meeting.
Stressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra “Make in India”, Parrikar said that “as much as possible, we should manufacture in India”. “The PM has been very clear in opening up defence (to the Indian industry). I feel that as much as possible, we should manufacture here in India.”
Dressed in a blue shirt, the IIT Bombay alumnus kept stressing he would comment on critical defence matters only after “understanding” them and taking a “grip of the situation”. “I came to know I had become defence minister only at 11.35 pm yesterday. Give me some time, let me understand the ministry. I will talk to the Prime Minister and then I will reply,” he said in Lucknow. And in Delhi: “I am coming from a state… The requirement at national level may be in a different connotation or different class… Secondly, I was left with no time… I virtually had to pack in five minutes.”
Asked about recent naval mishaps, Parrikar said, “I am equally worried — the torpedo recovery boat that sank at Vizag or even the earlier incident of explosion on submarines. But let me first take a real grip of the situation.”
About his nomination from UP, he said, “This state has given great leaders. This is the land of Rama and Krishna. UP has been the starting point of history. I consider myself lucky.” He promised to learn Hindi “completely” in two to four months.
To a question about lack of Sainik Schools in UP, he said, “Chinta karne ki koi baat nahin hai. The Home Minster is from here, the Prime Minister is from here, now the Defence Minister is from here. Kya dikkat hai ab?”
Manohar Parrikar | Defence
“I can tell you this much, whatever will be there (in defence procurement) will be transparent and fast processed; that is my specialty… I feel that as much as possible, we should manufacture here in India.”
MMRCA contract that involves procurement of 126 fighter aircraft, submarines for Navy, artillery guns; implementing “Make in India” programme; minding relations with Pakistan and border disputes with China; fulfilling One Rank One Pension promise