Kasaragod, Kerala, Nov 17: Calling upon political parties for a consensus on development issues, Defence Minister A K Antony today said his department would not discriminate anyone on the basis of political affiliation. 'Whereever we organise functions, we ensure cooperation of all political parties,' Mr Antony said, while inaugurating the strategic electronics factory of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that will produce airborne special purpose computers for various fighter aircraft.
Seeking to put an end to the controversy over his remarks that his department was not getting support from the present Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Government to bring new defence establishments to Kerala, Mr Antony said it was the responsibility of everyone to create a conducive atmosphere for development.
Unnecessary controversies should not come in the way of spoiling a defence establishment, he said, referring to the trade union issues in the BrahMos unit at Thiruvananthapuram.
Pointing out that more than six million Indians were settled in the Gulf regions and many more in other parts of the world, Mr Antony said job opportunities were shrinking everywhere and if they started coming back to India, there should be Industries here to provide them job.
Responding to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's request for the second phase of expansion of the unit, he said the work on the second phase whould start within a month.
In the second phase, the factory would produce avionics for SU30 and other fighter aircraft. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Oommen Chandy and Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty assured the full support of the state government for the timely completion of all the ongoing defence projects in the state.