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Manohar Parrikar Was A Very Humane Person

Vice Admiral HCS Bisht remembers the former defence minister as a technically very sound and confident in the matter of defence even though it was a new field for him. But what he felt most that Parrikar was very humane.

Photo Credit : BW Defence


I was the Director General, Indian Coast Guard (DGICG) from Jan '15 till Feb '16. During that period, there were a couple of occasions where I had the opportunity to interact with the Raksha Mantri (RM), late Mr Manohar Parrikar. He was a simple man, very grounded,  accessible and decisive. Whilst attending his meetings or interacting with him, I found him to be technically sound and always switched on, despite the fact that MOD was a new field for him. 

Whilst I used to meet him regularly, it was in Jun-Jul  2015,  when I had the occasion to brief him frequently, since a Dornier aircraft of the ICG had crashed off the Tamilnadu coast on 8th of June 15, killing all three aircrew.  As soon as the news was received, the  search for the missing aircraft started immediately with the help of ships and aircraft, both from the Navy and the Coast Guard. As it usually happens with these kind of search efforts, there was no joy for almost a month. Quite naturally, the relatives of these officers were getting restless and they used to approach the RM to vent their anguish at the ICG but Mr Manohar Parrikar never put any pressure on the Coast Guard. He only told me to leave no stone unturned in the search efforts. 

After almost a month of search efforts being undertaken, with the approval of MOD, we made use of a specialised vessel with Reliance Industries, called 'MV Olympic Canyon' which was being used for drilling efforts in the KG Basin. This vessel had the capability to use its Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), to undertake seabed search in depths of about 3000 mts. This however would have cost the ICG huge amount of hiring charges,  but the Reliance Industries were very gracious and waived off the rental charges for employment of this vessel, which alone amounted to approximately Rs 1 crore a day. After almost a month  of the search effort getting underway, INS Sindhudhwaj, an EKM submarine of the Navy undertook underwater search of the area, taking into account the depth contours of the area navigating between underwater cliffs and received a barrage of strong transmissions from the Sonar Locator Beacon (SLB) of  the crashed aircraft. The vessel Olympic Canyon was directed to proceed to that location and it lowered its Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), which was able to retrieve the entire debris of the aircraft including the mortal remains of the aircrew on the 39th day of the crash. Incidentally Mr Manohar Parrikar had discussed the technical details of the functioning of the SLB with me about a week before. He greatly appreciated the co-ordinated effort of all concerned in recovery of the crashed aircraft. Based on consultations with him, I also personally thanked Chairman of Reliance Industries for the kind gesture of sparing the vessel for us. 

Mr Manohar Parrikar was also a very humane person. I had invited him for my daughter's wedding on 26 Nov 15 and despite his busy schedule, he attended the wedding. 

We will all miss you Mr Manohar Parrikar. 



Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Admiral HCS Bisht

Vice Admiral HCS Bisht is an alumnus of Sainik School, Ghorakhal, Nainital, the National Defence Academy and the Naval Academy. He superannuated from the Indian Navy after almost 39 years of service on 31st Oct 2017. He had specialized in Gunnery and Missiles and is graduate of the 1992 batch of Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich, London. He also attended the Naval Higher Command Course in 2001 and the NDC course in 2007. His important appointments have been Flag Officer Sea Training, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Director General Indian Coast Guard and Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Eastern Naval Command.

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