Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 3 September 2017
Nirmala Sitharaman becomes the first full time woman defence minister (Raksha Mantri) of India. Before her, only Indira Gandhi hold the defence portfolio twice as additional charge in 1975 and 1982. Official list of Council of Ministers available with National Defence bears her name at number 26 under Cabinet Ministers.
Earlier today Sitharaman took the oath of cabinet minister. Before the latest Modi cabinet reshuffle, she was holding the independent charge of Ministry of Commerce and Industry besides holding the charge of Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs in Ministry of Finance, led by Arun Jaitley. According to defence ministry sources, she is unlikely to take charge today.
PM Modi in his third cabinet rejig inducted 13 new ministers. Experts were anticipating a full time minister in Defence Ministery after Manohar Parrikar had abruptly left the ministry. Handing over of defence portfolio to Nirmala Sitharaman vindicates her outstanding performance. The new appointment will boost and expedite the unfinished agendas and process of acquisitions.