Chennai,November 14: Veterans returning medals as a protest to the "One Rank, One Pension" (OROP) scheme is an insult to the nation, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
Parrikar was at INS Rajali in Arakonam, around 70 km from here, to dedicate the P8i aircraft to the nation.
The induction of the long-range maritime patrol P8i aircraft will enable the Indian Navy to undertake extensive surveillance and swift action, he stressed.
Parrikar said medals were recognition for the sacrifice made by the armed forces and not connected with the service conditions.
He said those aggrieved by the scheme notified by the government can put their demands before the judicial commission, which has been formed to review the OROP scheme's shortfalls.
He said the aircraft would provide the Indian Navy the necessary reach and flexibility to undertake extensive surveillance as also to respond swiftly and effectively to contingencies in the country's areas of interest.
According to him, even in the short phase of trials and testing, the P8i aircraft had achieved a number of operational milestones which include participation in the search effort for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370, the first successful firing of air-launched Harpoon Block II missile in the world, torpedo firing and active participation in major naval exercises.
The defence ministry said the P8i aircraft was a variant of P8A Poseidon aircraft from Boeing as a replacement for the US Navy's ageing P-3 fleet.
The Indian Navy in 2009 became the first international customer for the aircraft, signing a $2 billion worth contract to acquire eight aircraft.
The last of the eight aircraft was accepted by India last month.