Antony to take charge on Monday

New Delhi, May 23 (PTI) A K Antony, the affable 68-year-old Keralite politician, will take charge of the Defence Ministry for the second consecutive term in the new UPA government on Monday.
Antony faces major challenges in his second stint as Defence Minister such as plugging gaps in coastal, air and land security that have come under increased threat in recent times, more importantly after the chinks were exposed during the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks and fear of 9/11-style attacks.

“I will be taking over on Monday,” Antony told reporters here at his residence after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked him to continue in the Defence Ministry today.

Antony, a Rajya Sabha member, took oath as a Cabinet Minister in the Manmohan Singh government yesterday. He served as Defence Minister for over two years in the previous dispensation from October 25, 2006, when the then incumbent Pranab Mukherjee moved to the External Affairs Ministry.

Along with this, comes the challenge of modernising the 1.5-million-strong armed forces to world-class standards, currently under implementation as 15-year Perspective Plans since the beginning of this decade, and fully utilising the budgetary allocation, which stands at Rs 1,41,703 crore this year. PTI

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