PANAJI: Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said that as defence minister it was a tough time for him to withhold information, adding, the highest level of stress was taking crucial decisions.
“If you talk to one person extra, secrecy does not remain. And when you do not talk to someone the stress builds up. In defence, many times we could not discuss issues with anyone. And I used to have sleepless nights because of it,” he said. He was speaking at the launch of a book ‘Securing India the Modi Way – Pathankot, Surgical Strikes and More’, at the ongoing Goa Arts and Literary Festival (GALF), authored by senior journalist and strategic and security affairs analyst Nitin Gokhale, at International Centre Goa, Dona Paula. Vice-chancellor of Goa University Varun Sahni and Gokhale was also present.
The book details surgical strikes and more, that were carried out during the time Parrikar was the defence minister. Parrikar said, “The book pertaining to defence and internal security is relatively accurate. Nitin has hit the jackpot in many of the substances in the book. He has also kept the discreet information away because defence is a matter which is highly secretive.”
Being proud to have been part of the team that carried out surgical strikes on Pakistan, he said that the strikes were planned with mobile phones kept 20 metres away. “I am proud to say that between Uri and the place of the actual strike I had 18-19 meetings with army top brass and important defence personnel. Nothing leaked, even until now.”
He got nostalgic and went on to explain details of the surgical strike planning, like how defence officers were flown to foreign capitals to make on spot purchases of armaments to be ready for the strikes.
He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having activated diaspora and creating a real friendship with leaders of other countries. He said that after 10 years of stalemate during UPA rule, logistics for defence were procured in a year’s time.
On Rafale deal, he said, “Rafale may cost 90 to 100 million Euros but the fighting components used in it will cost 150 millions. We cannot think of aircraft or fighter jet purchases like we think of buying toor or moong dal. Therefore, defence has a very important role to play in foreign diplomacy. It is an important component of any relation with the international community.”
He mentioned how between 1999 and 2014 Pakistan had acquired 100 km-range capacity when India had upgraded to 60 km and “thus we were in danger of being shot down which was taken care of through Meteors purchased.”
He said that hard power and soft power played through diplomacy can gain momentum only if the hard power is strong and that surgical strike is all about hard power.