Multiple challenges await India’s new defence minister

India’s new defence minister Manohar Parrikar will have to hit the ground running as he begins his tenure in South Block from November 10. From tensions on the unresolved borders with China and Pakistan to India’s embarrassing tag of being the world’s largest arms importer, he will have his hands full.
It has taken Prime Minister Narendra Modi over five months to appoint a full-time defence minister for the country. Parrikar, a grocer’s son and former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, is known to share a good personal rapport with Modi.
While his predecessor Arun Jaitley set the ball rolling, it will be Parrikar who will have to measure up to the challenging task of overseeing India’s operational military preparedness.
The task at hand for Parrikar is particularly onerous given that his predecessor A.K. Antony, who served as the defence minister for no less than eight years, was unwilling to take fast decisions and risks lest his image of ‘Mr Clean’ be sullied.

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