In a candid admission, Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said he was “shivering” on his first in office as Defence Minister though he tried to put up a brave face.
“When I went to Delhi, I took experience of that city. I became Defence Minister with the blessings of you all. I was not knowing anything,” Parrikar said addressing a ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally at Sanvordem constituency on Sunday.
“Let me admit, I was shivering on the first day (of taking charge). I put up a brave face banking on my experience, but in reality I didn’t even had knowledge about the rank of military officers,” he said.
Parrikar was Chief Minister of Goa before his induction into the Union Cabinet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Goa’s brush with the military was during 1961 when Indian Army liberated the state from Portuguese rule. After that we saw 1965 and 1971 wars. During the Kargil war, I have given slogans but in reality I was unaware about what is war and what is the preparedness required for that,” he said.
The minister said he realised that “armament stores are empty and government had tied hands of the soldiers. I did nothing much for last two years but told army that if anyone attacks, you are free to retaliate”.
“You have noticed the impact of this liberty. Whenever there was attack on us, our brave soldiers have retaliated strongly. May be the surgical strike (in PoK)or firing at the line of border, Army has responded strongly, forcing the enemy to plead for peace. During last four days, there is no firing on the border.”