Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s First Full Time Woman Defence Minister

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New Delhi: Nirmala Sitharaman was on Sunday named the new Defence minister, only the second woman to hold the post since former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Incidentally, Nirmala Sitharaman, 58 has become the first full-time woman defence minister of India and only the second woman to hold the crucial ministry after Indira Gandhi.

Sitharaman, who was the minister of state for commerce is seen to have gained in confidence in handling the commerce 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.

From the educational field Sitharaman obtained a B.A. degree from Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Tiruchirappalli and an MA degree in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, followed by a Ph.D in the Indo-European textile trade within the GATT framework and MPhil. She then served at Pricewaterhouse Coopers as a Senior Manager and later for the BBC World Service.

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