30 July, 2021

To Plug The Gap In The Sky

Manohar Parrikar has demonstrated a rare decisiveness in the defence ministry.

To Plug The Gap In The Sky

When Manohar Parrikar took over as India’s defence minister late last year, many defence pundits sniggered. What will a provincial politician from Goa know about the complex issues in the defence ministry, felt the high and mighty denizens of Lutyens’ Dilli. Those who have their fingers in the defence pie rubbed their hands in glee: here’s a tyro, an outsider to Delhi’s power corridors who would be easy to manipulate, they might have been thinking. Less than six months on, the smiling, not-so-articulate Parrikar has set the cat among the pigeons by breaking the nearly decade-long logjam in the procurement of crucial fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and demonstrating the kind of quick decision-making many thought beyond him. The decision to buy 36 Rafale combat aircraft from the French company Dassault Aviation in ready-to-fly condition, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Paris, was a classic example of the political leadership taking a bold, unconventional decision to meet an urgent operational necessity of the armed forces. In this...

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