Panaji, Dec 9: Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday downplayed the role of the External Affairs ministry in international diplomacy, while crediting Defence Ministry officials as the real “backroom boys”, who slog in the background to actually get international deals going.
“External Affairs Ministry is a face of diplomacy, defence is the backroom boys. Defence does the actual exercise which needs to be done. For example, if you talk about Mauritius, the agreements were all signed by the External Affairs ministry, the executing boys are Defence. They are working on various projects for improving the Coast Guard, defence of Mauritius…” the Goa Chief Minister said at a literary event near here.
“Whether it is Mauritius, whether it is United Arab Emirates, the front end which normally the media and the world sees is the Ministry of External Affairs or foreign affairs, whichever you want to call it.
“The back-end room is occupied by Defence. Defence attaches do a major role. They are eyes and ears for the government of India. They are the ones who work overnight. Like improvement in relation with US. After 10 years of stalemate in UPA’s (United Progressive Alliance) time, we managed to get logistics agreement cleared in one year’s time. I am happy to say that that didn’t come under much scanner,” he said.