PANAJI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar , who is on his first visit to Goa after assuming charge of the key post, on Wednesday said that providing better infrastructure and equipment to the country’s Armed Forces, as well as addressing human angle issues such as ‘one rank, one pension’ would be on top of his agenda. He also said that his main priority will be to create better capability for the forces.
Parrikar, addressing a press conference in city, further said that absolutely no progress was made during past ten-year tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, as regards the defence deals, and most of the deals were stuck due to lobbying, vested interests and kickbacks. He said, “We are going to streamline the exercise concerning defence deals and with the exception of sophisticated and standalone weapons, the country would go for indigenously manufactured arms under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.”
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza and state Bharatiya Janata Party president Vinay Tendulkar were also present at the briefing.
Speaking further, Parrikar said that a programme is being finalised for his visit to the eastern border of the country to boost the morale of the soldiers posted there as well as to get an overview of the situation as regards supplies to the border areas.
Parrikar said that incidents of infiltration by Chinese soldiers into Indian territory should not be viewed by media as incidents of major concern, as Indian Army already has Commander-to-Commander mechanism in place, besides various other measures like banner drill, talks and so on, which take care of such incidents and diffuse the tension on either side.
Parrikar said, “The major problem faced by the Army is the huge plateaus along the eastern border, which makes it difficult to identify the Line of Control. I am of the opinion that instead of undertaking temporary measures to stop infiltrations along the Indian borders, steps should be taken to ensure that such incidents never take place.”
He rubbished the reports as regards China setting up their army camps in Indian territory.
Stating that it is the job of the state government to motivate Goan youth to join Indian Armed Forces, Parrikar said that there is a need to have more facilities for training the young cadets as soldiers. He said, “We need to have more institutions like National Defence Academy (NDA), as also spruce up the existing smaller training centres.”
On a parting note, Parrikar said that his strategy is to undertake long-term preparations for making India a self-sufficient country in providing full-proof protection to its people. He said, “And for that I will have to concentrate on raising the morale of the soldiers as well as develop their capabilities. At this point of time, I am neither afraid of Pakistan nor China.”