Cabinet reshuffle: Nirmala Sitharaman is India’s new defence minister
Nirmala Sitharaman takes charge of defence ministry from Arun Jaitley.Updated: Sep 03, 2017 13:54 IST
Nirmala Sitharaman, who was promoted to the cabinet rank on Sunday, would be India’s new defence minister.
Sitharaman takes over from finance minister Arun Jaitley who had been doubling up as the defence minister after Manohar Parrikar left for Goa in March to take over as the chief minister.
The 58-year-old Sitharaman, who was earlier minister of state for the commerce and industry ministry, is only the second woman defence minister of the country and the first independent woman minister to hold the charge of the important portfolio.
As Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi also held the defence portfolio.
Sitharaman takes over at a time when world order is changing at a swift pace, with China getting increasingly assertive in the neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean.
The recent standoff between the two countries in Doklam along India’s eastern border was one such example.
With China and India, the world’s economic growth engines and emerging powers, vying for a larger play on the global stage, such frictions are bound to rise.
Then there is the need for upgrading Indian military’s infrastructure. India is the world’s biggest arm importer and it need to scale up military capabilities to keep pace with China’s defence modernisation.