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May 27, 2014

Why Jaitley as Defence Minister temporarily may be a good thing


The fact that Mr Arun Jaitley holds two heavyweight plus one integrated portfolio of course goes on to show the BJP strategists' importance in the party and the new dispensation but may equally go on to underline the talent deficit that the BJP may be facing.
Having said that, Jaitley with the additional charge of Defence in the short term may be a good thing. Many defence acquisitions are stuck owing to the finance ministry disapproval in UPA-II. A senior minister holding the portfolio could mean a push to acquisitions as well as the long standing focus of private companies entering the defence production sector in a more sustained manner.
The next few months are crucial and sensitive for the Army in particular as in a change of guard, General Suhag takes over the reigns as the Army Chief. Already the BJP had opposed the appointment by the UPA, taking the matter right up to the Election Commission. The new Modi government will have to make sure that the transition passes on smoothly. The Army has been at the receiving end of heavy politicking, conspiracy theories and a dispensation which has allowed civil-military affairs to get reduced to bureaucrats and their interference in military affairs.
AK Antony often referred to as Saint Antony has left the Ministry of Defence in a state of partial disarray, acquisitions stuck, companies blacklisted, depleting submarine fleets and a successor Chief who has already been the subject of much scrutiny and allegations. Add to that the immense discontent in the ex-serviceman community who feel cheated by the no-start that OROP has been. Mr Jaitley is going to be a busy man, but with Defence on his plate too, at least for the time being, ‎the MoD knows that they have a serious minister, his political capital and proximity to the PM could ensure that image of the Armed Forces take no more of a beating, than it already has.

Ibnlive

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