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Nirmala Sitharaman as defence minister sends message globally, great for country: Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley, who earlier held the post of defence minister, said he was happy with Nirmala Sitharaman’s appointment and that she earned the place for herself.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2017 15:57 IST
New Delhi
Nirmala Sitharaman,Defence minister,Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley with Nirmala Sitharaman during the budget presentation early this year. (HT File Photo)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said he was leaving the post of defence minister in the hands of an “extremely competent successor” as he congratulated Nirmala Sitharaman on the appointment.

On Sunday, Sitharaman was elevated to a cabinet rank in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of ministers, making her only the country’s second woman defence minister.

Saying the appointment sends “a message globally”, Jaitley added, “It is great for the country, not just for the women.”

“Very significant landmark in this reshuffle is that we now have Nirmala Sitharaman as the new defence minister... It is a case where a minister performs well and earns a higher responsibility for herself,” he further added.

Noting that the Cabinet Committee on Security would now have two women ministers, with Sitharaman joining external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, he said: “Both ladies in CCS have established their competence, both are recognised as ladies with substance, who have earned a front-line position for themselves.”

Asked if women in combat maybe a reality with a woman as defence minister, Jaitley said, “That was one area in which I wasn’t able to do much.”

Jaitley had held the portfolio as an additional charge after Manohar Parrikar left the post to become Goa chief minister earlier this year.

First Published: Sep 03, 2017 15:57 IST