Indian Defense Minister AK Antony took charge of his ministry today. He was also Defense Minister during the last government.
Immediately after taking over he commented on the security challenges facing India. “Developments around us are a cause of serious concern to us. So eternal vigilance is a must. We have to further strengthen our security measures and also security apparatus by all means.” Agreeing with the need to give a push to modernization of the armed forces, he stated, “In our anxiety for speedy procurement we cannot and must not compromise transparency.”
Referring to the Mumbai terror attack, the Minister stressed the need for paying more attention to coastal security. He also expressed the importance of infrastructural development in the North-East and other border areas.Vowing to bolster the morale of the armed forces, Antony said, “Equipment and training alone will not keep the morale of the Armed Forces high. The welfare of the Armed Forces who are deployed in the far- flung difficult areas like Siachin, Nathu-La and in deep sea in submarines and dense forest have to be protected. I will take personal interest to improve their service conditions, including their accommodation, ration, food and clothing.”
Antony was received on his first day in office by Defense Secretary Vijay Singh and was later called upon by the three service chiefs.
Born on December 28, 1940 to Arakkaparambil Kurian Pillai and Aley Kutty at Cherthala, Distt. Alappuzha (Kerala), Arakkaparambil Kurian Antony had his primary education at Govt High School, Cherthala and took his Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Maharaja’s College and Bachelor degree in Law from Law College, University of Kerala, Ernakulum.
An Advocate by profession, Shri Antony started his political career as a Student Activist of Kerala Students’ Union. He has held many important political assignments such as President and General Secretary of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, General Secretary of All India Congress Committee and Member of the Congress Working Committee. He was first elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1970 and was the Chief Minister of Kerala thrice during 1977-78, 1995-96 and 2001-2004. He was also leader of the opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly during 1996 – 2001.
Antony was also a Member of the Rajya Sabha twice from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1991 to 1995 and Union Minister for Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution during 1993 – 1995. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in May 2005 from Kerala and took over as Defense Minister on October 25, 2006.
Antony edited a Malayalam Weekly Kalasala during 1964 – 66 and later a Malayalam Daily Veekshanam from 1978 to 1982.