Nirmala Sitharaman 'overwhelmed and humbled' on getting Defence Ministry

September 03, 2017 10:43 PM

NEW DELHI: Nirmala  Sitharaman , who landed the crucial defence portfolio+in a major rejig of the Modi government, said she was "overwhelmed and humbled" and would serve the country with something she was "constantly" thinking about.

Sitharaman also credited her elevation to a cabinet rank minister+ to "cosmic grace" and support from party leadership.

I am just overwhelmed and humbled. I can serve the country with something which is constantly on the top of my mind," she said.

Stressing that it was a big responsibility, Sitharaman said she was "very grateful"+ for the confidence the Prime Minister has on her.

Asked whether dealing with Pakistan in view of terrorism will be her priority, she said "I have not even taken charge. I don't think it is appropriate to comment on it now...give me some time."

To a query whether her elevation showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment towards women empowerment, she said the Prime Minister has always been in favour.

"I know his working style since the time he was in Gujarat ... He always believed in giving women their due share. His belief is that women can also perform," she said.

Sitharaman was among the four junior ministers who were given cabinet berths at the reshuffle today. Sitharaman was earlier the Minister of State (Independent Charge) Commerce.

"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 soon after taking oath.

To a query on the opposition criticism of her working as the commerce minister, theBJP leader said she was neither averse, nor frightened by criticism.

"Every criticism is a message and we have to learn from it. I am not averse to criticism and also not frightened of it, but certainly take messages from them.

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