Newly sworn-in defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday he will focus on "targeted completion" of defence projects to boost the country's defence, adding that the security of the nation will not be compromised.
The minister was addressing a press conference after filing his nomination for Rajya Sabha elections from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, a day after being inducted into the cabinet.
Parrikar, who took oath on Sunday and was allocated his portfolio late in the night, said he was "feeling proud" to have filed his Rajya Sabha nomination papers from Uttar Pradesh.
"I consider myself lucky," he added.
To a question, a smiling Parrikar, who quit as Goa chief minister on Saturday, said he came to know of his portfolio at 11.35pm on Sunday.
He said he needs to study his new ministry properly, before making any comments.
"I will study it properly and reply later," he told reporters.
Parrikar – who turns 59 next month – said his aim would be "targeted completion of whatever is required to strengthen India".
"I won't allow the country to be defenceless against the enemy," defence minister added.
Thanking his partymen and the people of the state, Parrikar also said he will be using his experience and would always keep the interest of in Uttar Pradesh in his mind.
Saying he will very soon learn to speak fluent Hindi, he assured party leaders that he will visit the state again after the end of the Winter Session of Parliament.
Parrikar was accompanied by Union micro, small and medium enterprises minister Kalraj Mishra and minister of state for skill development Rajiv Pratap Rudy when he went to Vidhan Bhawan to file his nomination before principal secretary Pradeep Dubey.
With Parrikar filing his papers for the Rajya Sabha polls, it would be for the first time in India's history that the Prime Minister, the home minister and the defence minister all would be representing UP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a Lok Sabha member from Varanasi, Union home minister Rajnath Singh is a Lok Sabha member from Lucknow, and now defence minister Manohar Parrikar is likely to be elected to Rajya Sabha, based on the BJP's strength of legislators in the state assembly.
Polling for 10 Rajya Sabha seats will be held November 20. The ruling Samajwadi party (SP) has fielded six candidates, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) two, and the Congress one. All are likely to get elected unopposed.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)
Manohar Parrikar: Will never let the nation be defenceless against enemy