In a big promotion, Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday became the first woman to become a full-time defence minister of the country. Sitharaman, 58, a Rajya Sabha member, is the second woman to take charge of the crucial ministry as Indira Gandhi, as the prime minister, had also held the portfolio in the ’70s.
Her elevation is seen as reward for her good work as the commerce minister. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was handling the defence ministry after Manohar Parrikar quit to become the Goa’s chief minister in March.
Sitharaman will now be a member of the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security whose members include the prime minister, home minister, external affairs minister and the finance minister.
Sitharaman said she was just overwhelmed and humbled. “Somebody who has come from a small town, grown into the party with all the support of the leadership, and if given such responsibility, it just makes you feel sometimes that cosmic grace is there. Otherwise it is impossible. I am thankful to Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shahji for entrusting me with this responsibility. With this, there are now two women on the Cabinet Committee on Security, that is, Sushma ji and myself. This itself sends out a strong message,” Sitharaman said after taking oath.
“Every criticism is a message and we have to learn from it. I am not averse to criticism and also not frightened of it (criticism), but certainly take messages from them. Criticism per se do not reflect on performance, it only adds to your performance if you are ready to take on-board the corrections that may be workable,” she said.
People started congratulating her as soon as she took the oath.
— shashank singh (@Shashank26Singh) September 3, 2017
Delighted to see Mrs.Nirmala Sitharaman as new defense minister of India .Now literally woman is leading from the front pic.twitter.com/qP2xaMh6sr
— deez (@deepikaseth1) September 3, 2017
So all the generals will be doffing their hats to a lady boss. That's a big one. Huge. Way to go. Kudos. #NirmalaSitharaman
— Joyeeta Basu (@eeta) September 3, 2017
— Bhautik Mandaliya (@brmandaliya) September 3, 2017
Strong. Bold. Honest. Hardworking. Intelligent. Meticulous.
The world knows and respects these traits in @nsitharaman .
A role model.
— Shyam Sekhar (@shyamsek) September 3, 2017
Proud moment for India#CabinetResuffle
— Ratikanta Nayak (@RKNayak431) September 3, 2017
— Rosy (@rose_k01) September 3, 2017
Wanna negotiate with us? You need to be as smart as Sushma Swaraj.
Wanna fight us? You need to be as tough as Nirmala Sitharaman
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) September 3, 2017
— Shekhar Kapur (@shekharkapur) September 3, 2017
So Nirmala Sitharaman joins CCS. Excellent news for this no-nonsense hardworking minister
— Minhaz Merchant (@MinhazMerchant) September 3, 2017
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) September 3, 2017
Wow! India's defence minister is a woman! Breaking with convention!
— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) September 3, 2017