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In Modi's Second Term, India's Cabinet Committee on Security Gets a Reshuffle and 2 Debutants

The committee has the last call when it comes to appointments in the national security spectrum, defence policy and expenditure.


Updated:May 31, 2019, 1:44 PM IST
In Modi's Second Term, India's Cabinet Committee on Security Gets a Reshuffle and 2 Debutants
(From left) Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh are now part of the new Cabinet Committee on Security.

New Delhi: The President’s office on Friday announced the final list of portfolios of all the ministers who took oath a day ago with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Interestingly, the list of portfolios shows that India has now got a whole new Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The CCS includes the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Affairs Minister and Finance Minister. The committee has the last call when it comes to appointments in the national security spectrum, defence policy and expenditure. Let’s take a look at the new faces of the CCS that the country will see:

Minister of Defence: Rajnath Singh

Former Union home minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Lucknow Rajnath Singh has been allocated the Defence Ministry a day after he returned to the Narendra Modi cabinet, taking oath at a star-studded ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

In 1964, at the age of 13, Singh got associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and continued his association even while he was working as a lecturer in KB Post Graduate College at Mirzapur. A politician for over four decades, he was made the district president of the Jana Sangh in 1975 and became an MLA in 1977. In 1994, he became a Rajya Sabha MP. Singh was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2000 and 2002 after which he served as minister of agriculture in Vajpayee’s cabinet between 2003 and 2004. He was also the president of the BJP before Amit Shah from 2013 and 2014.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Singh retained the Lucknow seat by defeating his nearest rival Poonam Sinha by over 3.4 lakh votes. He beat Sinha, a Samajwadi Party candidate, by a margin of 3, 47,302 votes. Singh had defeated Congress candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi by a margin of 27, 2749 votes in 2014 and had also won from Ghaziabad in the 2009 elections.

Minister of Home Affairs: Amit Shah

BJP president Amit Shah will be the Home Minister in the newly constituted Cabinet under PM Narendra Modi. He is taking over from Rajnath Singh, who has been given the Defence Ministry.

Emerging from the backstage, from where he directed the BJP’s ascent to its zenith, Shah will now remain at the forefront of Narendra Modi’s second government. Shah, who has been Modi's most trusted lieutenant since the 1980s when both started their political careers in Gujarat, made a grand entry in the prime minister’s group of ministers. Modi’s trust in Shah is indisputable. At the BJP national executive following the party’s massive victory in 2014, Modi had said, “Amit Shah was the man of the match. Had Shah not been given the responsibility of Uttar Pradesh, the country would not have known about his immense skills. I have personally known Shah for a long time. He will perform to his potential in his new responsibility and I have no doubt about that.”

Minister of External Affairs: S Jaishankar

Narendra Modi sprung a surprise as he announced his fresh set of cabinet ministers for the second time. Former foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Thursday took oath as one of the ministers.

Jaishankar was the foreign secretary from January 2015 to January 2018 and has previously held positions like the high commissioner to Singapore, and ambassador to China and the United States of America. He had played a key role in the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, and his performance as the Indian ambassador to the US had catapulted him to the coveted post of foreign secretary.

Minister of Finance: Nirmala Sitharaman

From being a saleswoman in a home décor store in London’s Regent Street to becoming India’s Minister of Defence and now Finance, Sitharaman’s journey includes many stops. Before formally joining the BJP in 2008, she worked as an assistant to an economist in the Agricultural Engineers Association in the United Kingdom, a senior manager in the R&D department of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and briefly even worked at the BBC World Service.

Sitharaman was inducted as junior minister (Minister of State, Commerce and Industry, with independent charge) in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 cabinet before being elected as member of Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh in June. In 2016, she successfully fought for a Rajya Sabha seat from Karnataka and was one of the 12 candidates nominated by the BJP to contest the elections.

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