Before Union Defence Minister AK Antony spells out his priorities, he intends to get a "feel and a feedback" about the portfolio he has been entrusted with. He described Defence as an "always on guard" Ministry.
Speaking exclusively to the Hindustan Times, Antony said he will "study, understand and comprehend the complexities" of the Ministry before zeroing in on the tasks before him.
The channels he will use for the inflow include senior colleagues and apolitical sources: "It is necessary to get proper and correct information and feedback because Defence is neither my area nor specialty. It is a new area for me. I have yet to learn the basics of this Ministry...the nuts and bolts so to say".
Steering clear of controversy, Antony hedged issues like the Barak deal or middlemen in defence deals.
Conceding the Defence portfolio came as a surprise, Antony said: "I am trying to figure out why I got this portfolio. It is beyond my expectations. It is the most challenging assignment in my political career. I could not dream of being Defence Minister. I never aspired for it," he said.
Yet he is not elated. Or on cloud nine as it were. His basic approach will be he said: "Positions will come and positions will go. Neither am I overjoyed when on top, nor in the dumps when down and out," Antony says.