Thiruvananthapuram, March 29 :
The next Indian Navy chief will be named soon, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Saturday.
“If someone decides to resign, it’s that’s the individual’s choice. Normally it (selection of service chiefs) happens as a natural process and currently the selection process is in the final stages. The next naval chief would be announced soon,” Antony told reporters here.
The force has been headless since the resignation of Admiral D.K. Joshi following a series of accidents that clamimed a number of lives
“Accidents do take place and every time they happens, a court of inquiry is ordered. Once it is done, appropriate action is taken,” said Antony, who is in Kerala to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, to be held across the state April 10.
Asked about the numerous controversies affecting the defence ministry over the years, he retorted: “Can you point out any allegation that was made and was dumped in the dustbin? Instead, tough action has been taken,” Antony maintained.
He pointed out that legal measures have been taken whenever contracts have been cancelled, adding defence procurement decisions in India are not political.
“Stringent action has also been taken when there has been a lapse and we even blacklisted six of the world’s leading defence suppliers. We also faced criticism when contracts were cancelled and it was said it would lead to slackening of modernisation. Despite all this, modernisation has taken place full steam and navy has been the biggest beneficiary. It has got new platforms and equipment,” said Antony.
He also pointed out that it was the practice to surrender a portion of the defence budget but in the past five years, this had not happened.
Antony has written himself into the record books by becoming India’s longest-serving defence minister following an uninterrupted run from 2006.