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Parrikar blames UPA for delayed defence infra projects

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Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said several key defence ministry projects linked to infrastructure creation like building family housing for soldiers away on posting and constructing border roads were delayed by the erstwhile UPA regime for years.images (4)

Speaking at a government function at Mandur village, 15 km from Panaji, Parrikar said he had tried to expedite pending projects ever since he assumed office.

But, he said, for the pace to match up to his satisfaction would take at least another six months.

Criticising the previous government for the delay in achieving the target of the Married Accommodation Project (MAP), Parrikar said the second phase of the project, involving 70,000 flats, would be completed by 2018.

“The first phase of 50,000 to 60,000 flats was over at that time (during the earlier National Democratic Alliance regime). From the second phase only 5,000 of the 70,000 were completed in last 10 years,” Parrikar said.

“In the last one year, the 5,000 figure has reached 16,000. And in the next year it will cross 30,000. By 2018, our target is to complete construction of 70,000 (flats),” Parrikar said.

He said border road projects too had lagged behind and that the rate construction in some projects was as slow as one foot per day.

The minister said sometimes the reasons for the delay was the non-availability of automatic drills to cut through rock.

“Some border road projects were such that they would move at the rate of only one foot per day. One foot per day. Really there are difficulties there. The rocks there are difficult to break,” he said.

“Blasting cannot be done, because the Himalayas are a very fragile mountain, the whole thing may come down.”

“We have to do localised blasting and you have to stick to drilling. They did not have automatic drill machines. We provided those and as a result from one foot we have progressed to 10 to 12 feet per day.

“Minimum, it should be 50 feet per day, only then will some projects finish in time,” Parrikar said.

“When I became defence minister, many infrastructure projects were stuck. Over the last six-seven months I tried to speed them up. It is not up to my satisfaction yet, for that it may take six months more,” he added. (IANS)

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Terrorist Safe Havens Should Be Eliminated: Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok that the international community should come together to disrupt terrorist networks

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens. Wikimedia Commons

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens and disrupt their networks and financing in order to thwart cross-border movements for achieving sustainable regional security is achieved.

Singh was addressing the sixth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Thailand, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the regional framework this year. Describing terrorism as the most heinous cross-border crime, Singh said some states have been using terror to pursue their political goals.

“It is so much worse when terrorists are aided, abetted, armed, financed and sheltered by States. The interplay between states and non-state actors, used as proxies to foment violence, has worsened this menace. The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is not just a painful cancer, it is also the leading reason for unsustainable security,” said Singh.

Rajnath Singh
Rajnath Singh says that The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is the leading reason for unsustainable security. Wikimedia Commons

The theme of the meeting this year is ‘Sustainable Security.’ Singh said there is a need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with the broad and complex security challenges to find sustainable solutions.

Singh further said that India’s Indo-Pacific vision is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region in which there is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all natikons.

“Our region must remain open and welcoming to the interests of all, those who live in it and others whose interests are in it. In short, our approach to security in the Indo-Pacific is sustainable by definition because it emphasises Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),” added Singh.

On negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, Singh said the outcome of these talks will be in keeping with all relevant international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said the forum promotes freedom of navigation, overflight and lawful commerce and also emphasised the need to protect the rights of States that are not party to these negotiations.

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Singh emphasied that India looks forward to the progress made through dialogue in addressing all related issues, including the proliferation trail that links South and East Asia on the issue of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. “As dialogue remains on the table, we hope missile launches and such destabilising activities will cease”, he said.

During the course of his address, Singh said India is eager to co-chair the India-Indonesia Expert Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the next cycle. (IANS)