New Delhi: Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday took charge as India's first full-fledged woman Defence Minister.

Sitharaman was elevated to the rank of a Cabinet Minister and given the crucial charge in Sunday's reshuffle of the Narendra Modi Cabinet.

However, she could not take charge as Arun Jaitley, who has been holding the additional charge of Defence, was on a visit to Japan for a bilateral dialogue.

Jaitley had said on Sunday he was going to Japan for the meet even though ideally Sitharaman should have attended it but logistical arrangements at the last moment were not possible.

In past, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had held the defence portfolio twice - from December 1 to December 21 in 1975, and January 14, 1980 to January 15, 1982.