Defence Minister of India
The Defence Minister of India is a key member of the Union Cabinet and is a high-ranking government official responsible for overseeing the country’s defence forces, policies, and strategies. This position is one of the most critical positions in the Indian government, as India is a country with a complex security environment that faces significant challenges from multiple fronts.
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List of Defence Ministers of India From 1947 to 2023
Here is a detailed list of all the Defence Ministers of India from independence to the present.
|S. No||Name||Date of Start of Term||Date of End of Term|
|1||Shri Baldev Singh||15.08.47||13.05.52|
|2||Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar||13.05.52||10.02.53|
|3||Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (PM)||27.01.53||10.01.55|
|4||Dr. Kailash Nath Katju||10.01.55||30.01.57|
|5||Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (PM)||30.01.57||17.04.57|
|6||Shri V. K. Krishna Menon||17.04.57||01.11.62|
|7||Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (PM)||01.11.62||21.11.62|
|8||Shri Y.B. Chavan||21.11.62||13.11.66|
|9||Sardar Swarn Singh||13.11.66||27.06.70|
|10||Shri Jagjivan Ram||27.06.70||10.10.74|
|11||Sardar Swarn Singh||10.10.74||01.12.75|
|12||Smt. Indira Gandhi (PM)||01.12.75||21.12.75|
|13||Shri Bansi Lal||21.12.75||24.03.77|
|14||Shri Jagjivan Ram||28.03.77||27.07.79|
|15||Shri C. Subramaniam||30.07.79||14.01.80|
|16||Smt. Indira Gandhi (PM)||14.01.80||15.01.82|
|18||Shri S.B. Chavan||03.08.84||31.12.84|
|19||Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao||01.01.85||24.09.85|
|20||Shri Rajiv Gandhi (PM)||25.09.85||24.01.87|
|21||Shri V.P. Singh||25.01.87||12.04.87|
|22||Shri K.C. Pant||18.04.87||03.12.89|
|23||Shri V.P.Singh (PM)||06.12.89||10.11.90|
|24||Shri Chandra Shekhar (PM)||21.11.90||20.06.91|
|25||Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao (PM)||21.06.91||25.06.91|
|26||Shri Sharad Pawar||26.06.91||05.03.93|
|27||Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao (PM)||05.03.93||16.05.96|
|28||Shri Pramod Mahajan||17.05.96||31.05.96|
|29||Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav||01.06.96||19.03.98|
|30||Shri George Fernandes||19.03.98||15.03.01|
|31||Shri Jaswant Singh||16.03.01||14.10.01|
|32||Shri George Fernandes||15.10.01||22.05.04|
|33||Shri Pranab Mukherjee||23.05.04||24.10.06|
|34||Shri A.K. Antony||25.10.06||26.05.14|
|35||Shri Arun Jaitley||26.05.14||08.11.14|
|36||Shri Manohar Parrikar||09.11.14||13.03.17|
|37||Shri Arun Jaitley||13.03.17||06.09.17|
|38||Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman||07.09.17||30.05.19|
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First Defence Minister of India
Late Shri Baldev Singh was the first Defence Minister of India. He was born on July 11, 1902, in the village of Rurka Kalan in the Jalandhar district of Punjab. He was an Indian independence activist and a prominent leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, a Sikh-centric political party. He served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, which was responsible for drafting the Indian Constitution.
When India became independent in 1947, Baldev Singh was appointed as the country’s first Defence Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. As Defence Minister, Baldev Singh played a crucial role in organizing and strengthening the country’s armed forces. He oversaw the integration of various princely states’ armies into the Indian Armed Forces, which helped to create a unified military structure for the country.
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Present Defence Minister of India
Shri Rajnath Singh is the present Defence Minister of India. He was born on July 10, 1951, in the district of Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh. He is a veteran politician and a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Singh began his political career as a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization, before joining the BJP.
Singh has held various positions in the Indian government, including as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and as Minister of Agriculture. He has also served as the President of the BJP twice, and he played a significant role in the party’s rise to power in the 2014 general elections.
In 2019, Rajnath Singh was appointed as India’s Defence Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As Defence Minister, he has focused on modernizing and strengthening the country’s armed forces, with an emphasis on indigenous defence production. He has overseen the implementation of several key defence policies, such as the Defence Procurement Procedure 2020 and the Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020.
Under Rajnath Singh’s leadership, the Indian Armed Forces have conducted several successful operations, including the Balakot airstrike in 2019 and the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese troops in 2020. He has also been actively involved in addressing the security challenges faced by India, such as terrorism and border disputes with neighbouring countries.
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Defence Minister of India’s Role
The role of the Defence Minister involves:
- Providing strategic direction to the Indian Armed Forces and ensuring their preparedness to defend the country against any external threats.
- Overseeing the modernization and expansion of the Indian Armed Forces, which includes the procurement of weapons, equipment, and technology from both domestic and foreign sources.
- Promoting indigenous defence production and research and development in the defence sector is critical to building a self-reliant defence industry in India.
- Maintaining diplomatic and strategic relationships with other countries to enhance India’s defence cooperation and to ensure a stable regional security environment.
- Ensuring the welfare and well-being of the serving and retired personnel of the Indian Armed Forces, including their families.
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Defence Ministers of India UPSC
The Defence Minister of India is responsible for overseeing the country’s defence forces, policies, and strategies. Aspirants for the UPSC exam should study the Defence Minister’s role, responsibilities, and India’s defence strategy. It is an important part of both prelims and mains UPSC Syllabus. To prepare, aspirants can use StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching for study materials, video lectures, and current affairs updates, as well as UPSC Mock Test for Prelims 2023 to evaluate their preparation level. Understanding the Defence Minister’s responsibilities is crucial for answering questions on this topic during the UPSC exam.
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