Metallurgical Engineer Takes Charge of India's Defense Ministry

Metallurgical Engineer Takes Charge of India's Defense Ministry

Manohar Parrikar,  who just became India’s new Defense Minister is a workaholic engineer with a passion for cricket, is known to be both an able administrator and a master vote-getter

In 1988 he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in  the former Portuguese colony of Goa, where  the party was a virtual non-entity at the time. A  passionate party loyalist and devoted reader of the public’s mind, he became the first engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology to be elected as Chief Minister of any state  in 2000. After being out of office for a while, he returned to the post in 2012 with 21 out of 40 seats in the  Goa assembly elections and a seat on his party’s national committee. During the parliamentary elections in June this year the BJP swept both seats in Goa.

Manohar Parrikar

As chief minister of the state of Goa, Parrikar improved the infrastructure of roads, bridges, and hospitals across the state. He initiated programs to bring about socioeconomic change such as providing interest-free loans to students and financial assistance to senior citizens. Goa has been able to reduce the birth, death, and infant mortality rates significantly. Parrikar fulfilled his promise of eliminating the Value Added Tax (VAT) on gas which effectively reduced gasoline (petrol) prices in the state. Known for his integrity and spartan lifestyle, the 58-year-old widower, lived with one of his sons in a two-bedroom apartment, using the government provided mansion only as an office. In a small state, he often traveled by rickshaw and carried his own bags (unheard of among Indians in any position of power).

On Sunday, Parrikar relinquished his post as chief minister and moved to New Delhi as Union Minister for Defense. He has promised a “transparent and fast” weapons acquisition process to close the current shortages and modernize the equipment used by India’s armed forces. Going by his performance as chief minister, The India Expert hopes and expects that he will deliver on his promise.

Parrikar with Home Minister Rajnath Singh
Parrikar with Home Minister Rajnath Singh

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