Panaji: Being a Defence Minister is “a thankless job”, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday and added that executing the “surgical strike” across the LoC was one of the highlights of his tenure as Defence Minister.
While speaking at a Children’s Day function in Panaji on Tuesday, Parrikar also said that one of the main difficulties of being a Defence Minister was the inability to respond to incorrect facts being reported on television, for fear of letting out state secrets to the enemy.
“There are many highlights, but as an experience it is a thankless post. Because very often what happens when you are Defence Minister that if something appears on media, on TV, you are not in position to reply because of secrecy and importance of the news. You are not able to answer, because if you answer your enemy may come to know what you are up to,” Parrikar said.
“Therefore on many occasions, one of my difficult aspects was, if something appears on the media, I would know it is wrong, or this is not wrong, and this media person is drawing a wrong meaning from something and interpreting it in the way he wants. But I was not in a position to reply. Because if one replies, our strategy the enemy will know. This was the most difficult thing,” he added.
Speaking about the surgical strikes on the India-Myanmar border in the northeast and the India-Pakistan border on the western front, Parrikar said that after the “easy” surgical strike along the Myanmar border, he was called by a friend who said that a similar surgical strike on the Western border would make him “permanent”.
“I remember, when we conducted a surgical strike on the northeast border, then one of my friends from Goa called me and said before you retire carry out another (surgical strike) here, on the Western Border, against Pakistan, so that your name will be permanent. I said, my name does not matter, but if the country needs to be given a signal, then I will do it on the day it is necessary,” Parrikar said, to a question from a student.
“When we (army) went to the Myanmar border for surgical strike, to take that decision was relatively easy, because along that border, there were no major issues,” the former Defence Minister said.
“But when the decision was taken on this border, then there was a risk of a possible reaction after the surgical strike, then out of that there could be war. And if there was war, then there was a need for total readiness. Therefore the pressure was different,” he said.
The Goa Chief Minister also said that during his tenure as Defence Minister from 2014-2017 he missed fish fried in typical Goan style, while in Delhi.
“There was plenty of fish available in Delhi. Some people used to send me fish from Goa, therefore it was not that there wasn’t much fish to eat. But there was no local flavour, the taste was not to be had in Delhi,” he said.
“You can only get it in Goa. The way in which you rava (semolina) fry fish in a crisp manner. Even in hotels the taste is different from what you eat at home. I could not get that taste, that was the problem. There was fish aplenty,” he said.