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Manohar Parrikar’s biography details eve of surgical strikes

Manohar Parrikar. File photo: Reuters

Manohar Parrikar. File photo: Reuters  

Former Defence Minister was desperate to ease tension

A new book on former Defence Minister and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar reveals just what went on, on the eve of the surgical strikes against Pakistan (announced on September 29, 2016) after the Uri attack that killed 18 Indian soldiers and left more than 30 injured.

The biography of Parrikar, An Extraordinary Life (Penguin Random House) by Sadguru Patil and Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, describes in great detail the events of the evening the surgical strikes were supposed to take place.

Quoting Milind Karmarkar, a Sangh swayamsewak, considered close to the then Defence Minister, the authors say Parrikar was “desperate to speak to someone” that evening, in order to calm his nerves.

“Manohar told me that he was desperately in need of a friend he could speak to that night. He wanted to ease the tension, which was developing as his team closely monitored the progress of the strike,” the book quotes Mr. Karmarkar.

Journalist calls

He also goes on to reveal that during the course of the evening, Parrikar received at least three calls from a journalist friend, and says: “Had the mediaperson called even one more time he would have invited him over.”

“He just wanted a friend to chat with so he did not doze off during such a critical night,” Mr. Karmarkar is quoted as saying.

Once he was informed about the successful completion of the mission and the return of the Indian commandoes, Parrikar “desperately” tried reaching his son Utpal, who was on a business visit to Japan.

‘Pakistan knocked off’

“He could not get through despite several calls, but when he did, his first two words to his son were: Pakistanak udaylo (Pakistan has been knocked off),” says the book.

This is just one incident in a well-researched look at the storied career of Mr. Parrikar who rose from the ranks of being an RSS volunteer to being the Defence Minister of India. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed back the book’s release, scheduled for the end of March.

From his decisions as Goa Chief Minister on mining and casinos, to his tough personal life as widower with two children to raise amid a career of public service, the book avoids a hagiographic view and tries a critical examination of an extraordinary life.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 4:19:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/manohar-parrikars-biography-details-eve-of-surgical-strikes/article31264145.ece

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