Nirmala Sitharaman will take charge as India’s first full-fledged Defence Minister on Thursday morning, officials said.
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.
Jaitley had said on Sunday he was going to Japan for the meet even though ideally Sitharaman should have attended it but logistics arrangements at the last moment were not possible.A
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.