Panaji, Nov 7 (IANS) With two rhetorical questions during his speech at a seminar in Panaji, former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday, may well have left some senior Indian Navy officials blushing.
At a seminar ‘Indian Maritime Environment & Capability Requirement’ organised by Confederation of Indian Industry in Panaji, Parrikar first asked senior naval officials as to why one of their top ranked officials was referred to as “admiral from rear”.
“When I entered Defence (Ministry) I didn’t know any of their designations. For me… I didn’t know the difference between a Captain, a Major, Admiral and Rear Admiral… Why you call it Admiral from rear I do not know. I was totally blank when I entered,” Parrikar said.
Later in his speech, Parrikar threw another query to the audience, which included several naval officers.
He rhetorically asked naval officials present, about why the Indian Navy is headquartered in the landlocked national capital and not on the coastline.
“One reason but I have not understood, about Navy and which I have asked every Navy chief that why do you insist on sitting in Delhi, where there is no sea,” Parrikar said.
“I have always believed, that you should have headquarters somewhere in Mumbai or Goa or Visakhapatnam or any other place, not in Delhi, because operationally, the coast is the area where Navy operates,” he said.
But seconds later, the former Defence Minister claimed, that he knew the answer to the ‘mystery’ himself, but was not at liberty to disclose it in public.
“Of course I know the reason, but I will not reveal it here… All those who are in white uniform know about it. But operationally most of the activity and events are on the Western and Eastern coast. Probably also on Andaman Nicobar. Nowadays Andaman and Nicobar is also in focus…” Parrikar said.
The former Defence Minister did compliment the Indian Navy though, for providing the best food among the three service.
Without good food on long voyages, there would be mutiny onboard naval ships, he said.
“But one thing I knew and that through my reading habit, that the food is best served by the Navy. The logic is very simple. That is the only entertainment on the boat,” Parrikar said, adding that when he was elevated to the Union Cabinet in 2014, he chose a naval mess over facilities provided by the other two services, namely Indian Army and Indian Air Force.
“When you go for months together on deep sea voyages, particularly on submarines for 30 days, 60 days. Nowadays it doesn’t even surface or reach back. I think if you don’t give good food, there will be mutiny,” Parrikar said.
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