Parrikar's remarks undermined Navy officials' prestige: Congress

Panaji, Nov 9 (IANS): The Congress in Goa on Wednesday alleged that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had "undermined the prestige" of senior naval officials with his
"unsavoury" remarks on Tuesday about the Rear Admiral rank.

State Congress President Shantaram Naik also alleged that former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had violated the Official Secrets Act with his comments at a seminar
here, where Parrikar had first questioned the logic behind landlocked Delhi being the location of India's naval headquarters and then claimed to know the reason why.

In a statement issued here, Naik said the "unsavoury" remarks about a senior naval rank like Rear Admiral was unbecoming for a former Defence Minister and "undermined
prestige of senior naval officials".

At a seminar on "Indian Maritime Environment & Capability Requirement", organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Panaji, Parrikar first asked senior
naval officials as to why one of their top-ranking officials was referred to as "admiral from rear".

"When I entered Defence (ministry), I didn't know any of their designations. For me... I didn't know the difference between a captain, a major, an admiral and a rear
admiral... Why you call it 'admiral from rear' I do not know. I was totally blank when I entered," Parrikar had said.

Parrikar had also rhetorically questioned as to why the Indian Navy is headquartered in a landlocked national capital and not on the coastline.

"I have always believed that you should have headquarters somewhere in Mumbai or Goa or Visakhapatnam or any other place, not in Delhi, because operationally, the
coast is the area where Navy operates... and sitting in Delhi operating from the coast," he said.

But seconds later, the former Defence Minister claimed that he knew the answer to the "mystery" himself, but was not at liberty to disclose it in public.

"Of course, I know the reason, but I will not reveal it here... All those who are in white uniform know about it. But operationally, most of the activity and events
are on the Western and Eastern coasts. Probably also on Andaman Nicobar. Nowadays, Andaman and Nicobar is also in focus," Parrikar had said.

Naik claimed that the utterances of the former Defence Minister about why the national capital also serves as the Indian Navy's headquarters were violative of the
Official Secrets Act.

"Parrikar says he knows the answer, but is not at liberty to disclose it. Even hinting that he knows the truth means and implies that there is some defence secret
involved," Naik said.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should warn him again before he leaks information in the future," Naik said in his statement.

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