New Delhi : The appointment of Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army chief will not be affected by the change of government, new Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday. The BJP had strongly opposed the UPA government for elevating Lt. Gen. Suhag to the top post.

“Well, I believe that there should be no controversy or issue about the appointment of any person. Some comments may have been made about the conduct and procedures of the process. It is not going to have any effect on any person concerned in any manner,” he said. Jaitley also talked about speeding up procurement of defence equipment and indigenisation as among the top priorities.

“Security of India is a matter of prime importance. It is about external security of the country and preparedness of armed forces….speeding up (procurement) of equipment required for support is the priority area,” Jaitley said. “We are concerned that in the last few years some areas have slowed down. Expediting them is a concern,” he said.

On indegenisation of defence equipment, the minister said, “It is an issue, both limbs of which are dealt by my departments. It is already coming up in discussions.” He added it was an area he was “personally willing to oversee”. The BJP then objected to the new army chief being named, saying there was no hurry and that the decision should be left to the new government.

“There were some comments on the procedure which happened when the model code of conduct was there. This should not reflect on person concerned in any manner,” added Jaitley shortly after he assumed office as the new defence minister, an additional charge he has with the finance ministry.

Jaitley, who also took over as the finance minister, however, said the charge of defence ministry was additional for him and a new minister would take over in “two weeks” and for now he would try to do a “balancing act”.

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