Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Nirmala Sitharaman as India’s defense minister, succeeding Arun Jaitley. She took the customary oath on Sunday along with other ministers during the Union cabinet reshuffle swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi.
Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP politician and Member of Parliament, was the second other woman cabinet minister apart from Sushma Swaraj. Prior to that, late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held the defense portfolio during her tenure.
Nirmala Sitharaman has the reputation of being a tough negotiator. She will now be responsible for undertaking military modernization program to adequately equip the armed forces. The military modernization program is projected to cost $50 billion.
“I am completely overwhelmed. I look forward to receiving guidance from Arun Jaitleyji and the former Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikarji for tackling various issues.” She said in an interview.
Narendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle seems to be the last rejig before the 2019 general elections to boost economic growth and reform armed forces.
Modi said ahead of the BRICS summit, “I congratulate all those who have taken oath today. Their experience and wisdom will add immense value to the council of ministers.”