Antony Takes a Dig at UDF Govt
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In sharp remarks critical of the ruling Congress-led UDF, Defence Minister A K Antony today said a conducive atmosphere was needed in Kerala to get more defence-related units even as he praised the previous LDF regime for its "total cooperation" to him in this sphere.

"During 2004-11, when the UPA was in power at the Centre and the state was under the LDF rule, I had received total cooperation from the state government in my efforts to set up defence-related units.

"Now I don't have confidence to bring in such units to the state. For getting such units, there required a positive atmosphere," he said inaugurating Missile Integration Complex of BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL) here.

Interestingly, he made these sharp observations in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and state Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty.

"I don't know who is responsible for this situation. How could I defend myself if I do not get sufficient backing from you all," Antony, a former state chief minister, said.

His comments come at a time when the trade unions including the pro-Congress INTUC have been protesting against the BATL management alleging it had been pursuing anti-labour policies.

Dispelling fears voiced by unions about moves to privatise BATL, he said, "BrahMos is an Indo-Russian joint initiative with DRDO holding 50.5 per cent of shares and Russia 49.05 per cent stakes."

The company was formed in 1998 as part of Indo-Russian agreement to manufacture BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missiles. The BrahMos unit in Kerala's capital city was set up after taking over the state-run Keltec.
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