Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar opened up about his much publicised simple attire, saying he is uncomfortable in western clothes like suits but his dresses are much better than his predecessors.
Parrikar, who addressed an event in suburban Bandra, was asked about his dressing sense. The questioner said a section of government machinery thinks that the attire of Parrikar, despite having a major portfolio, is too simple. Parrikar quipped, “I am uncomfortable in western outfits like suits. Compared to previous defence minister, my dress is much better.”
“And I do not seek votes over my simplicity like another IITian,” the Defence Minister said, in an apparent jibe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Not so long ago, Parrikar was slammed by social media users for his ‘tongue’ comments about Kejriwal.
Commenting on his innings in Delhi, after a stint in Goa politics, Parrikar said, “I came to Delhi only because the Defence portfolio was offered to me. Otherwise, I am more comfortable in Goa.”
Earlier he said his biggest challenge was dealing with scams. “The biggest challenge was to deal with the scams. We formed laws after some scam was unearthed. It finally led to several stringent laws coming into force and halting entire defence procurement procedure,” he said.
Terming as “not practical” the blacklisting of companies or entire group for the fault of its subsidiary, Parrikar said there are only 17-20 group of companies across the globe that are into defence equipment manufacturing and supply.
“There should be a practical approach while initiating any action against the faulty component or product supplied by particular company or arm of a major group. We could blacklist that particular part or arm. It is a subjective issue,” he said speaking on “Strengthening India’s Defence Capabilities”, anchored by security analyst Nitin Gokhale, in suburban Bandra.
The Defence Minister said the Union Law Ministry has approved the draft policy for black-listing the companies. “We will take it further soon”.
Parrikar pitched for indigenisation of manufacturing of weapons, as Indian government spends lakhs of crore of rupees on its import.
“Self-reliance in weapons manufacturing is an imaginary thing. If a country achieves around 70 per cent indigenisation in weapon manufacturing, then it should be sufficient and (India) achieving it would be a good thing,” he said, adding that by 2019, we will achieve that 70 per cent benchmark.
“There is no constraint of funds for defence procurement till 2027. Our requirement is projected on Union Finance Ministry’s graph,” he said.
Asked about the progress in development of weapons, the defence minister said, “Based on the Howitzer model, a light gun is in its final stage. Its weight would be 30 per cent of the existing canons deployed in mountains. Artillery guns of 155×52 calibre are also going to be replaced soon. These two are major achievements in development of weapons,” he said.
Clarifying on the OROP issue, he said some people are creating a wrong perception. “Of the Rs 8000 crore demand, we have so far approved a package of Rs 7500 crore,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)