The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday, July 29, inducted the French-made Rafale multirole fighter aircraft. As the first five of 36 Rafale fighters landed at the Airforce Station, Ambala, the capability of the IAF has increased multi-fold. One man who can be must be credited for the swift decision to procure these 4.5 generation aircraft is former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The late BJP leader rose to the ranks in his political career and went on to become the Chief Minister of Goa. His clean and decisive way of functioning as the Goa CM handed him the charge of Defence Ministry under Modi 1.0.
Decisive and incorruptible personality
As the BJP government was looking for a person with a clean image for the post of Defence Minister, Parrikar rose up to the occasion. He managed the affairs in the Ministry that has always been under the scanner due to its history of scams be it Congress (Bofors and Augusta Westland scam), or BJP (Coffin scam during Kargil war) like a seasoned administrator.
As soon as he joined, his first task as Minister of Defence was to meet the pledge of one-rank-one-pension (OROP), an important question for the military community. In dealing with this problem, Parrikar showed a rapid administrative grasp of complicated problems, and political deft footedness in dealing with complicated issues.
Rafale: The Real Deal
Defence Ministry where red-tapism dominates even the daily affairs, Parrikar ensured that Rafale doesn't die down like any other defence deal. He personally administered the entire process and sailed the deal through bureaucratic quagmire which had become critical for national security. Parrikar was also involved in the tough negotiations in Rafale deal which was eventually signed in September 2016. Parrikar can also be attributed to the push to indigenous defence manufacturing.