New Delhi, May 27 UNI | 2 months ago

Arun Jaitley, who has been given additional charge of Defence ministry, today said full-time defence minister would be appointed in a couple of weeks.


Talking to reporters after taking over charge as the new Defence Minister at South Block, Mr Jaitley said, "The Ministry of Defence is only an additional charge with me till alternative arrangements are made after the full expansion of the Council of Ministers.

"This is a very important ministry and hopefully should get a ministerial head in the Ministry over the next couple of weeks who can look full time after this Ministry."

He said "speeding up all the equipment required for support to our armed forces would be the priority area of the new Government.

"The security of India is a matter of prime importance and predominantly the external security of India is a responsibility of this ministry.

"Therefore, preparedness and support to our armed forces and speeding up all the equipment required for support to our armed forces would be the priority area as far as the new Government is concerned. We are certainly concerned with the fact that over the last few years some of the areas had slowed down and therefore expediting them will be a matter of top priority,"Mr Jaitley said.

In reply to a question whether the Government would focus on indigenisaton of defence production as one of the priority areas, Mr Jaitley said, "the issue has already come up in preliminary discussions in the Finance Ministry today. I do not want to say anything more till I go into the depth of the matter.

"If you remember that even 26 per cent was decided when Mr (Atal Behari)Vajpayee was in power. These are areas at least, I am personally willing to examine."

(Posted on 28-05-2014)