Manohar Parrikar says won’t talk to media for 6 months

New Delhi: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has sworn not to speak to the media for six months after he said his words were not accurately reported.

“I will not speak to the media for six months,” he told journalists in Panaji who sought to ask questions on defence issues.

“I will not speak much. Because if I speak, people start looking for things (in it),” he added, reported agencies from the Goa capital where Parrikar has been camping for three days.

The defence minister is scheduled to be in Meerut, the cantonment town east of Delhi in western Uttar Pradesh, to mark International Yoga Day with troops tomorrow.

Parrikar’s promise to not speak to the media on military matters comes after criticism that statements from ministers following an Indian army raid on a militant camp in Myanmar upset the neighbour.

Although Parrikar himself had not described the raid as a cross-border action, his colleague Rajyavardhan Rathore spoke about it.

But Parrikar has been inconsistent in his public statements on other issues such as countering terrorism, the Rafale fighter jet deal, the demand of veterans for “one rank one pension”, on China-made idols of Ganesha having smaller eyes, and his father’s remark, according to him, that the answer to India’s burgeoning population lay in an atom bomb.

On the Rafale jet deal, Parrikar said it would be capped at 36 aircraft and then went on to say the government could consider ordering more from the French firm, Dassault Aviation.

He had promised to implement one rank one pension within weeks but it has taken longer than that. There is no official word on how and when the benefits will be granted to an estimated 25 lakh ex-servicemen.

Parrikar was also scrutinised for saying he would prefer to use “terrorists to fight terrorists” and that a former Prime Minister had compromised “deep assets” of the military.

It is difficult for Parrikar to be sworn to silence in the coming weeks, however, because of urgent issues demanding his attention. Among them are the agitation by veterans — seen as a core constituency of the BJP — for one rank one pension and the Prime Minister’s commitment to implement it, and escalating counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.

Source: The Telegraph, Kolkata