Arun Jaitley Takes Over As Defence Minister
(Source: India Ministry of Defence; issued March 14, 2017)
Shri Arun Jaitley took over additional charge as Defence Minister, here today. On his arrival at the Ministry of Defence in South Block, Shri Jaitley was received by Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre, Defence Secretary Shri G Mohan Kumar and other senior officials.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Parrikar, who returns to his previous position, is a Goan native. He also showed himself to be an uncomfortable defense minister for Prime Minister Modi, many of whose defense procurement decisions he opposed and worked to undermine.
His interference is widely considered as the principal reason why India dropped its long-running Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition and instead awarded a direct contract for Rafale fighters.
He is also seen as the originator, and single supporter, of India’s much-ballyhooed but unrealistic plan to locally produce older US-designed fighters, which is now likely to fade away.
His replacement by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who held the defense portfolio for six months before Parrikar’s surprise appointment, is likely to lift the last remaining political obstacles to India’s awarding new orders to modernize its air force.)


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Gets Defence Ministry After Manohar Parrikar Heads to Goa
(Source: New Delhi TV; posted March 13, 2017)
NEW DELHI --- With Manohar Parrikar headed to Goa as the next Chief Minister, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was told to take additional charge as the country's Defence Minister.

Rashtrapati Bhavan said President Pranab Mukherjee had accepted Mr Parrikar's resignation with immediate effect. "Further as advised by the Prime Minister, the President has directed that Shri Arun Jaitley, Cabinet Minister, shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence, in addition to his existing portfolios," a statement from Mr Mukherjee's office said. Mr Jaitley will formally assume charge on Tuesday morning.

Mr Jaitley had started out his innings in the Modi Government with charge for the two ministries on either side of Raisina Hill; the finance ministry in North Block and the defence ministry across the road, in South Block. He relinquished the defence ministry in November 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in Manohar Parrikar from Goa to continue attempts to get the procurement process - halted during the previous UPA's tenure - back on track.

But Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar - who had replaced Mr Parrikar in 2014 - was not a patch on his predecessor. The BJP not only ended up with just 13 seats in the 40-seat assembly in the just-concluded elections but Mr Parsekar could not win a seat for himself. And he had contested from two.

Even as Defence Minister, Mr Parrikar has often been called Goa's super chief minister, a reflection of the IIT-Bombay graduate's abiding interest in state politics even after taking charge of the Defence Ministry.

That the defence minister was headed home became crystal clear over the weekend when the BJP's former former ally, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP, offered support to the BJP on condition that Mr Parrikar heads the government.

It is an option that Mr Parrikar had never really turned his back on. When he was asked about the possibility of his return to state politics after he voted in last month's election, Mr Parrikar's gave a cryptic response: "I have lost 4 kg in Delhi because of the food. I like Goan food. You can interpret this the way you want."


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