Newly-inducted Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah on her appointment and stated that the presence of two women in the Cabinet Committee on Security, namely External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and she, itself sends out a strong message.
“I am humbled by the kind of trust the Prime Minister, party president Amit Shah and senior colleagues have in me. It is overwhelming but at the same time it makes you feel like with so much trust on you, one has to serve."
I am sure with everyone’s guidance, help, suggestion, and support, I will be able to do a good job.
With regards to her appointment as the Defence Minister, Sitharaman opined that "the post of Defence Minister requires a lot of deep studies, involvement, engagement with defence personnel and being responsible enough to know the intricacies of it. During this time, I will forward to guidance from the Prime Minister, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Shri Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikarji. I shall seek help from everyone and then play my role."
On being asked about how she feels about becoming the first full-time woman defence minister, she said, “Rather than me playing the role of defence minister, the message which I would like to bring about is that the Cabinet committee on security has two women.”
Further, Sitharaman stated that she will take charge on September 6, after incumbent Defence Minister Arun Jaitley's return from Tokyo. Arun Jaitley will retain his position as the Finance Minister.
An alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Sitharaman joined the BJP in 2006 as its national spokesperson and Prime Minister Modi's ministry in 2014. She had previously served as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance and the Minister of Commerce and Industry with independent charge. Sitharaman represents Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha.