India Gets Its First Full-Time Woman Defence Minister

Nirmala Sitharaman now holds one of the country’s most powerful portfolios.


Nirmala Sitharaman was sworn-in as India’s defence minister on Sunday, becoming only the second woman in the country to hold that position. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held the defence portfolio as an additional charge between 1980 and 1982.   


So technically, she is the country’s first full-time woman defence minister. People have been celebrating this ‘empowerment’ of women on social platforms.


Did you know?

  • Nirmala has an M.Phil in International Studies from JNU
  • She has married into a family that has had different political inclinations. Her mother-in-law was a Congress MLA in Andhra Pradesh and her father-in-law was a Minister in the government during the 1970s. In fact, when she joined the BJP in 2006, her husband had joined another political party floated by a popular actor.
  • Nirmala was part of the National Council for Women between 2003 and 2005, where she was noticed and identified to be part of the BJP.
  • She was a prominent party spokesperson and has held two other portfolios before being appointed as the country’s defence minister.


After taking charge, Nirmala Sitharaman has already said that she will keep an open mind and look into the matter of opening up combat positions for women.


Currently, women are only recruited in select areas in the army but the Army Chief had said in June that it was ready to open up combat positions for women. The Indian Air Force has inducted three fighter pilots last year.  

So far, only Germany, Australia, Canada, the US, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and Israel have allowed women in combat roles.


Now that is definitely a sign of welcome change, isin’t it?  Most definitely an inspiring Monday read. Don’t you agree?  


Sources: Wikipedia,,

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