Nirmala Sitharaman takes charge as the new Defence Minister
New Delhi: Nirmala Sitharaman took charge as the Defence Minister of India on Thursday in the presence of Arun Jaitley and other senior officials.
The woman Defence Minister thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for assigning her the portfolio. "I thank the PM for having vested confidence in me and giving such critical portfolio. Armed forces will be my first priority," she said.
"Armed Forces' family a priority. It's in their welfare that we ensure soldiers remain assured their interests being taken care of," she further stated.
Sitharaman was elevated to the rank of a Cabinet Minister and given the crucial charge in Sunday’ reshuffle of the Narendra Modi ministry, but could not take charge as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has been holding the additional charge of defence, went on a visit to Japan for a bilateral dialogue on defence.
Sitharaman will be the first woman to be a full time defence minister in India. In past, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had held the defence portfolio twice – from December 1 to December 21 in 1975, and January 14, 1980 to January 15, 1982.