Prime Minister Narendra Modi sprung some surprise with his cabinet expansion. He literary caught everyone off-guard by deciding to appoint Nirmala Sitharaman as the new defence minister of India. Nirmala Sitharaman, who was promoted to the cabinet today, takes charge of the crucial ministry from Arun Jaitley, who has been saying for some time that he would like to focus his attention entirely on the Finance Ministry.She is India’s first woman Defence Minister after Indira Gandhi. Sitharaman’s appointment has been widely applauded as her performance as commerce and industry was considered success.
Her appointment comes a time when India is trying to modernize the defence forces. Also there has been concern, given aggravated tension with Pakistan and China, about the lack of a full-time defence minister. Modi also surprised his detractor by promoting Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to cabinet rank and inducting retired IAS officer cum BJP leader from Kerala officer Alphons Kannanthanam into his team of minister. Promotion of Naqvi and induction of former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam may help the saffron party in its minority outreach. Alphons, whose administrative capabilities had often come in for praise when he was a bureaucrat, is a Christian hailing from Kerala, a state where the BJP has been working hard to emerge as a potent force. Naqvi, well-liked for his affable and easy-going manners, will be the only Muslim cabinet minister in the Modi government.