For The First Time Since Independence, Both India’s Defense And Foreign Ministers Are Women

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Updated on 4 Sep, 2017 at 8:12 pm


On Sunday, Nirmala Sitharaman became only the second woman defense minister of India. Technically, Sitharaman is India’s first woman full-time Defense Minister. Indira Gandhi had held the ministry while serving as prime minister twice – once during the Emergency in 1975 and then from 1980 to 1982.


Express Photo

Sitharaman, who till now was the MoS (Independent Charge) Commerce and Industry, was earlier today elevated to a Cabinet rank for her excellent performance in the ministry.

It is for the first time in independent India that both the country’s serving External Affairs Minister and Defense Minister are women.


While Sushma Swaraj has been doing a fantastic job as the foreign minister. She is currently the most popular minister in the Modi Cabinet. It should be noted that Indira Gandhi too held the foreign ministry twice but she never held both defense and foreign ministry at the same time. Neither has there ever been two women heading the respective ministries.

Sitharaman will be succeeding Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who took charge of the immensely crucial Ministry of Defense from Manohar Parrikar after the latter left to become the Chief Minister of Goa.



The Center was under pressure to get on board a full-time Defense Minister given the changing global scenario and the volatility in the neighborhood.

Jaitley, too, had indicated that he is not willing to take the burden of two heavyweight ministries for too long.

Many were sure that this Cabinet reshuffle will produce a full-time defense minister but hardly anyone had the clue that Sitharaman would take charge.

Nirmala Sitharaman has been a part of Modi’s ministry since the NDA came to power in May 2014. She joined BJP in 2006 and was one of the 12 candidates nominated by the BJP to contest the Rajya Sabha elections in June 2016.



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