Sitharaman is one of four ministers elevated to cabinet rank on Sunday. She attributed her promotion to “cosmic grace”.
“Somebody who has come from a small town, grown into the party with all the support of the leadership, and if given such responsibility, it just makes you feel sometimes that cosmic grace is there. Otherwise it is impossible,” she told reporters here after taking oath.
Sitharaman takes over from Jaitley who also holds the heavy-workload finance ministry. He was keen to be rid of defence and said as much.
On Friday, he indicated he may not be defence minister for much longer.
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“At least, I hope, not very long,” Jaitley had quipped, when being asked about the reshuffle.
Sitharaman – who was minister of state for commerce – is seen to have gained in confidence in handling the ministry and has done well in multilateral negotiations, said party sources. She also made her mark as party spokesperson when the BJP was in the opposition.
When Sitharaman was give the commerce ministry, as an independent charge, it was a role she grew into after an initial period when her direct manner was markedly different from what officials were used to. But of late, she has been seen to have come into her own, gaining control over her turf and dealing with trade negotiations with increasing certainty.
Sitharaman was recently in China for a BRICS meeting where she was engaged in discussions with counterparts even as the protracted India-China border row played out in Doklam.
The new defence minister highlighted her achievements as commerce minister.
“With the support of the prime minister, so many things have happened in the ministry like Start up India, Make in India etc. There is some misconception about ‘Make in India’, but it will be answered,” she said.
Former defence minister manohar Parrikar – who held the post before Jaitley – congratulated Sitharaman.
Many congratulations to @nsitharaman Ji on becoming India’s next & first full time woman Defence Minister. Wish her all the best.
— Manohar Parrikar (@manoharparrikar) 1504427425000
Puducherry governor Kiran Bedi also praised Sitharaman and congratulated her.
Proud of her. She is brilliant in her work. She has earned her way thru every bit. @nsitharaman Wish her the best https://t.co/0AihfkR9b1
— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) 1504415951000
Source : timesofindia