Humbled on getting Defence ministry, says Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman, who landed the crucial defence portfolio on Sunday said she was "overwhelmed and will serve the country with something she was "constantly" thinking about.
"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 believe 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. 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.
"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.
"Criticism per se do not reflect on performance. It only adds to your performance if you are ready to take on-board the corrections that may be workable," she said.
The key takeaway from Prime Narendra Modi's Big Bang reshuffle before the big battle of 2019 is the appointment of Nirmala Sitharaman as only the second woman after Indira Gandhi to the Defence ministry.