Even as the Modi government has been re-elected with a historic mandate, the limelight has shifted to the question of the possible composition of the new cabinet which is expected to witness a few shuffles. One of the ministries which are bound to be at the centre of the discussion is the Defence Ministry. Being one of the key ministries and a part of the Cabinet Committee on Security, it is bound to be at the centre of speculations. Given the track record of past three years and the talent pool of the Modi government, the following three contenders have emerged as the most probable faces for this portfolio.
- Nirmala Sitharaman
She is obviously the top choice for this portfolio. She has effectively led the ministry in her stint during the first tenure of the Modi government. She performed exceptionally well and oversaw several important events including the Balakot airstrikes operation, which sent a clear message to Pakistan and its terror establishment. The Indian military forces also witnessed a massive modernisation spree under the Modi government. The military firepower increased exponentially. She has therefore proved her worth. Induction of M777 Howitzers and the K9 Vajra are just a few examples. Under her tenure, several weapons deals have been finalized which are going to boost India’s defence forces like never before. The way she countered the propaganda revolving around the lies relating to Rafale deal also displayed her remarkable leadership skills.
2. Rajnath Singh
He is one of the favourite contenders for this portfolio. He is a political heavyweight being one of the senior most ministers under the Modi government and in the party organisation, he also enjoys a very high level of seniority. In the event of a reshuffle, he will emerge as a top contender for the defence portfolio. Coming to his performance during the first tenure he did not disappointed at any point of his tenure as the Home Minister. He managed the internal security situation of the country really well. It is because of his efforts that Naxalism is at the verge of extinction today. As such he faced all challenges with a lot of intent and never shied away from taking tough decisions when necessary.
3. V K Singh
This is a no-brainer. The former Chief of Army Staff, General V K Singh is fully conversant with the operational details of the Indian military forces and the challenges that the country faces as far as the national security situation is concerned. Having handled such matters in the past gives him invaluable experience and expertise when it comes to tackling any issue of National Security. Having won the Lok Sabha polls from his constituency by five lakh votes, he has a massive political mandate to go along with his extensive experience in defence matters. The Army veteran is, therefore, a top contender for this portfolio.