Nirmala Sitharaman is India's new defence minister

New Delhi, Sep 3: Nirmala Sitharaman who landed the crucial defence portfolio in a major rejig of the Modi government today credited her elevation to a cabinet rank minister to "cosmic grace" and support from party leadership. 

Sitharaman is among the four junior ministers who were given a cabinet berth. 

"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 after taking oath.

To a query over the opposition's criticism of her working as commerce minister, the BJP leader said she was neither averse nor frightened by criticism.

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"Every criticism is a message and we have to learn from it. I am not averse to criticism and also not frightened of it (criticism), 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.

Sitharaman was also quick to highlight a number of initiatives by the commerce ministry like Start up India and Make in India.

"With the support of the prime minister, so many things have happened in the ministry like Start up India, Make in India etc. There is some misconception about 'Make in India', but it will be answered," she said. 

Sitharaman was earlier Minister of State (Independent Charge) Commerce.