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Minister of Defence
Rakṣā Maṁtrī
Incumbent
Rajnath Singh
since 30 May 2019
Ministry of Defence (India) Ministry of Defence
StyleThe Honourable
Member ofUnion Cabinet
Reports toPresident of India
Prime Minister of India
Parliament of India
AppointerPresident
on the advice of the Prime Minister
Term length5 years
Formation15 August 1947
First holderBaldev Singh
DeputyAjay Bhatt
Minister of State
Websitemod.gov.in

The Minister of Defence (ISO: Rakṣā Maṁtrī) is the head of the Ministry of Defence and a high ranking minister of the Government of India. The Defence Minister is one of the most senior offices in the Union Council of Ministers as well as being a high-level minister in the union cabinet. The defence minister additionally serves as President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, and as Chancellor of the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology and of the National Defence University.

They are often assisted by a Minister of State for Defence and less-commonly, the lower-ranked Deputy Minister of Defence.

The first defence minister of independent India was Baldev Singh Chokkar, who served in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet during 1947–52. Rajnath Singh is the current defence minister of India.

Cabinet Ministers

Key
Assassinated or died in office
# Portrait Minister
(Birth-Death)
Constituency
Term of office Political party Ministry Prime Minister
From To Period
1 Baldev Singh
(1902–1961)
MP for Punjab (Constituent Assembly)
15 August
1947
2 April
1952
4 years, 272 days Indian National Congress Nehru I Jawaharlal Nehru
2 April
1952
13 May
1952
Nehru II
2 N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
(1882–1953)
Rajya Sabha MP for Madras
13 May
1952
10 February
1953[†]
273 days
Jawaharlal Nehru
(1889–1964)
MP for Phulpur

(Prime Minister)
10 February
1953
10 January
1955
1 year, 334 days
3 Kailash Nath Katju
(1887–1968)
MP for Mandsaur
10 January
1955
30 January
1957
2 years, 20 days
Jawaharlal Nehru
(1889–1964)
MP for Phulpur

(Prime Minister)
30 January
1957
17 April
1957
77 days
4 V. K. Krishna Menon
(1896–1974)
MP for Bombay North
17 April
1957
2 April
1962
5 years, 197 days Nehru III
2 April
1962
31 October
1962
Nehru IV
Jawaharlal Nehru
(1889–1964)
MP for Phulpur

(Prime Minister)
31 October
1962
14 November
1962
14 days
5 Yashwantrao Chavan
(1913–1984)
MP for Nashik
14 November
1962
27 May
1964
3 years, 364 days
27 May
1964
9 June
1964
Nanda I Gulzarilal Nanda
(acting)
9 June
1964
11 January
1966
Shastri Lal Bahadur Shastri
11 January
1966
24 January
1966
Nanda II Gulzarilal Nanda
(acting)
24 January
1966
13 November
1966
Indira I Indira Gandhi
6 Swaran Singh
(1907–1994)
MP for Jullundur
13 November
1966
27 June
1970
3 years, 226 days
13 March
1967
27 June
1970
Indira II
7 Jagjivan Ram
(1908–1986)
MP for Sasaram
27 June
1970
15 March
1971
4 years, 105 days Indian National Congress (R)
15 March
1971
10 October
1974
Indira III
(6) Swaran Singh
(1907–1994)
MP for Jullundur
10 October
1974
1 December
1975
1 year, 52 days
Indira Gandhi
(1917–1984)
MP for Rae Bareli

(Prime Minister)
1 December
1975
20 December
1975
19 days
8 Bansi Lal
(1927–2006)
Rajya Sabha MP for Punjab
21 December
1975
24 March
1977
1 year, 93 days
(7) Jagjivan Ram
(1908–1986)
MP for Sasaram

(Deputy Prime Minister
from 24 January 1979)
24 March
1977
28 July
1979
2 years, 126 days Janata Party Desai Morarji Desai
9 Chidambaram Subramaniam
(1910–2000)
MP for Palani
28 July
1979
14 January
1980
170 days Indian National Congress (Urs) Charan Singh Charan Singh
Indira Gandhi
(1917–1984)
MP for Medak

(Prime Minister)
14 January
1980
15 January
1982
2 years, 1 day Indian National Congress (I) Indira IV Indira Gandhi
10 Ramaswamy Venkataraman
(1910–2009)
MP for Chennai South
15 January
1982
2 August
1984
2 years, 200 days
11 Shankarrao Chavan
(1920–2004)
MP for Nanded
2 August
1984
31 October
1984
151 days
31 October
1984
31 December
1984
Rajiv I Rajiv Gandhi
12 P. V. Narasimha Rao
(1921–2004)
MP for Ramtek
31 December
1984
25 September
1985
268 days Rajiv II
Rajiv Gandhi
(1944–1991)
MP for Amethi

(Prime Minister)
25 September
1985
24 January
1987
1 year, 121 days
13 V. P. Singh
(1931–2008)
Rajya Sabha MP for Uttar Pradesh
24 January
1987
12 April
1987
78 days
14 K. C. Pant
(1931–2012)
MP for New Delhi
12 April
1987
2 December
1989
2 years, 234 days
V. P. Singh
(1931–2008)
MP for Fatehpur

(Prime Minister)
2 December
1989
10 November
1990
343 days Janata Dal V. P. Singh V. P. Singh
Chandra Shekhar
(1927–2007)
MP for Ballia

(Prime Minister)
10 November
1990
21 June
1991
223 days Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) Chandra Shekhar Chandra Shekhar
P. V. Narasimha Rao
(1921–2004)
Unelected

(Prime Minister)
21 June
1991
26 June
1991
5 days Indian National Congress (I) Rao P. V. Narasimha Rao
15 Sharad Pawar
(born 1940)
MP for Baramati
26 June
1991
6 March
1993
1 year, 253 days
P. V. Narasimha Rao
(1921–2004)
MP for Nandyal

(Prime Minister)
6 March
1993
16 May
1996
3 years, 71 days
16 Pramod Mahajan
(1949–2006)
MP for Mumbai North East
16 May
1996
1 June
1996
16 days Bharatiya Janata Party Vajpayee I Atal Bihari Vajpayee
17 Mulayam Singh Yadav
(1939–2022)
MP for Mainpuri
1 June
1996
21 April
1997
1 year, 290 days Samajwadi Party Deve Gowda H. D. Deve Gowda
21 April
1997
18 March
1998
Gujral Inder Kumar Gujral
18 George Fernandes
(1930–2019)
MP for Nalanda
19 March
1998
13 October
1999
2 years, 101 days Janata Dal (United) Vajpayee II Atal Bihari Vajpayee
13 October
1999
16 March
2001
Vajpayee III
19 Jaswant Singh
(1938–2020)
Rajya Sabha MP for Rajasthan
16 March
2001
21 October
2001
219 days Bharatiya Janata Party
(18) George Fernandes
(1930–2019)
MP for Nalanda
21 October
2001
22 May
2004
2 years, 214 days Janata Dal (United)
20 Pranab Mukherjee
(1935–2020)
MP for Jangipur
23 May
2004
26 October
2006
2 years, 156 days Indian National Congress Manmohan I Manmohan Singh
21 A. K. Antony
(born 1940)
Rajya Sabha MP for Kerala
26 October
2006
22 May
2009
7 years, 212 days
23 May
2009
26 May
2014
Manmohan II
22 Arun Jaitley
(1952–2019)
Rajya Sabha MP for Gujarat
27 May
2014
9 November
2014
166 days Bharatiya Janata Party Modi I Narendra Modi
23 Manohar Parrikar
(1955–2019)
Rajya Sabha MP for Uttar Pradesh
9 November
2014
13 March
2017
2 years, 124 days
(22) Arun Jaitley
(1952–2019)
Rajya Sabha MP for Gujarat
13 March
2017
3 September
2017
174 days
24 Nirmala Sitharaman
(born 1959)
Rajya Sabha MP for Karnataka
3 September
2017
30 May
2019
1 year, 269 days
25 Rajnath Singh
(born 1951)
MP for Lucknow
31 May
2019
Incumbent 4 years, 345 days Modi II

Ministers of State

No. Portrait Minister
(Birth-Death)
Constituency
Term of office Political party Ministry Prime Minister
From To Period
1 Mahavir Tyagi
(1899–1980)
MP for Dehradun

Minister of Defence Organisation
16 March
1953
17 April
1957
4 years, 32 days Indian National Congress Nehru II Jawaharlal Nehru
2 Kotha Raghuramaiah
(1912–1979)
MP for Guntur

Minister of Defence Production,
since 14 November 1962
16 April
1962
27 May
1964
2 years, 54 days Nehru IV
27 May
1964
9 June
1964
Nanda I Gulzarilal Nanda
3 Alungal Mathai Thomas
(1912–1981)
MP for Ernakulam

(Defence Production)
13 June
1964
11 January
1966
1 year, 212 days Shastri Lal Bahadur Shastri
4 Jaisukhlal Hathi
(1909–1982)
Rajya Sabha MP for Gujarat
29 October
1965
11 January
1966
74 days
(3) Alungal Mathai Thomas
(1912–1981)
MP for Ernakulam

(Defence Production)
11 January
1966
24 January
1966
13 days Nanda II Gulzarilal Nanda
(4) Jaisukhlal Hathi
(1909–1982)
Rajya Sabha MP for Gujarat
(3) Alungal Mathai Thomas
(1912–1981)
MP for Ernakulam

(Defence Production
since 31 January 1966)
24 January
1966
13 March
1967
1 year, 48 days Indira I Indira Gandhi
(4) Jaisukhlal Hathi
(1909–1982)
Rajya Sabha MP for Gujarat

Minister of Defence Supplies,
until 13 November 1966
5 Bali Ram Bhagat
(1922–2011)
MP for Arrah
13 March
1967
14 November
1967
246 days Indira II
6 Lalit Narayan Mishra
(1923–1975)
Rajya Sabha MP for Bihar

(Defence Production)
14 November
1967
27 June
1970
2 years, 225 days
7 Narendrasinghji Mahida
MP for Anand
27 June
1970
18 March
1971
264 days Indian National Congress (R)
8 Prakash Chandra Sethi
(1919–1996)
MP for Indore

(Defence Production)
27 June
1970
18 March
1971
309 days
18 March
1971
2 May
1971
Indira III
9 Vidya Charan Shukla
(1929–2013)
MP for Raipur

(Defence Production)
2 May
1971
10 October
1974
3 years, 161 days
10 Ram Niwas Mirdha
(1924–2010)
Rajya Sabha MP for Rajasthan

(Defence Production)
10 October
1974
21 December
1975
1 year, 72 days
11 Vitthalrao Gadgil
(1928–2001)
MP for Pune

(Defence Production)
25 December
1975
24 March
1977
1 year, 89 days
12 Janaki Ballabh Patnaik
(1927–2015)
MP for Cuttack
23 December
1976
24 March
1977
91 days
13 Sher Singh Kadyan
(1917–2009)
MP for Rohtak
14 August
1977
28 July
1979
1 year, 348 days Janata Party Desai Morarji Desai
14 Jagbir Singh
Rajya Sabha MP for Uttar Pradesh
30 July
1979
14 January
1980
168 days Janata Party (Secular) Charan Charan Singh
15 C. P. N. Singh
MP for Padrauna
3 March
1980
19 October
1980
230 days Indian National Congress (I) Indira IV Indira Gandhi
16 Shivraj Patil
(born 1935)
MP for Latur
19 October
1980
15 January
1982
1 year, 88 days
17 Brigadier
Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo AVSM
(born 1941)
MP for Dhenkanal
29 January
1983
31 October
1984
1 year, 332 days
4 November
1984
31 December
1984
Rajiv I Rajiv Gandhi
18 Sukh Ram
(1927–2022)
MP for Mandi

(Defence Production and Defence Supplies)
25 September
1985
22 October
1986
1 year, 27 days Rajiv II
19 Arun Singh
(born 1944)
Rajya Sabha MP for Uttar Pradesh

(Defence Research and Development Organisation)
25 September
1985
18 July
1987
1 year, 296 days
(16) Shivraj Patil
(born 1935)
MP for Latur
22 October
1986
25 June
1988
1 year, 247 days
20 Chintamani Panigrahi
(1922–2000)
MP for Bhubaneswar

(Defence Production and Defence Supplies)
25 June
1988
4 July
1989
1 year, 9 days
21 Dumar Lal Baitha
(1924–1997)
MP for Araria

(Defence Production and Supplies)
4 July
1989
2 December
1989
151 days
22 Raja Ramanna
(1925–2004)
Unelected
20 January
1990
10 November
1990
294 days Janata Dal Vishwanath V. P. Singh
23 Lalit Vijay Singh
(1931–1998)
MP for Begusarai
21 November
1990
21 June
1991
212 days Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) Chandra Shekhar Chandra Shekhar
24 S. Krishna Kumar
(born 1939)
MP for Quilon
26 June
1991
18 January
1993
1 year, 206 days Indian National Congress (I) Rao P. V. Narasimha Rao
25 Mallikarjun Goud
(1941–2002)
MP for Mahabubnagar
18 January
1993
19 January
1995
2 years, 1 day
26 Suresh Pachouri
(born 1952)
Rajya Sabha MP for Madhya Pradesh

(Defence Production and Supplies)
15 September
1995
16 May
1996
244 days
27 Mallikarjun Goud
(1941–2002)
MP for Mahabubnagar

(Defence,
Defence Research and Development)
30 September
1995
16 May
1996
229 days
28 N. V. N. Somu
(1937–1997)
MP for Chennai North
6 July
1996
21 April
1997
296 days Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Deve Gowda H. D. Deve Gowda
21 April
1997
14 November
1997[†]
Gujral I. K. Gujral
29 Harin Pathak
(born 1947)
MP for Ahmedabad East
13 October
1999
14 November
2000
1 year, 32 days Bharatiya Janata Party Vajpayee III Atal Bihari Vajpayee
30 Bachi Singh Rawat
(1949–2021)
MP for Almora
13 October
1999
22 November
1999
40 days
31 Krishnam Raju
(1940–2022)
MP for Narasapuram
22 July
2001
1 July
2002
344 days
(29) Harin Pathak
(born 1947)
MP for Ahmedabad East

(Defence Production and Supplies)
15 October
2001
29 January
2003
1 year, 106 days
32 Chaman Lal Gupta
(1934–2021)
MP for Udhampur
1 July
2002
22 May
2004
1 year, 326 days
33 O. Rajagopal
(born 1929)
Rajya Sabha MP for Madhya Pradesh
29 January
2003
22 May
2004
114 days
34 Bijoy Krishna Handique
(1934–2015)
MP for Jorhat
23 May
2004
29 January
2006
1 year, 251 days Indian National Congress Manmohan I Manmohan Singh
35 Rao Inderjit Singh
(born 1951)
MP for Mahendragarh
29 January
2006
22 May
2009
3 years, 113 days
36 M. M. Pallam Raju
(born 1962)
MP for Kakinada

(Defence Production, until 28 May 2009)
29 January
2006
22 May
2009
6 years, 273 days
28 May
2009
28 October
2012
Manmohan II
37 Jitin Prasada
(born 1973)
MP for Dhaurahra
28 October
2012
29 October
2012
1 day
38 Lalchand Kataria
(born 1968)
MP for Jaipur Rural
28 October
2012
31 October
2012
3 days
39 Jitendra Singh
(born 1971)
MP for Alwar
28 October
2012
26 May
2014
1 year, 180 days
(35) Rao Inderjit Singh
(born 1951)
MP for Gurgaon
27 May
2014
5 July
2016
2 years, 39 days Bharatiya Janata Party Modi I Narendra Modi
40 Subhash Bhamre
(born 1953)
MP for Dhule
5 July
2016
30 May
2019
2 years, 329 days
41 Shripad Yesso Naik
(born 1952)
MP for North Goa
31 May
2019
7 July
2021
2 years, 37 days Modi II
42 Ajay Bhatt
(born 1961)
MP for Nainital–Udhamsingh Nagar
7 July
2021
Incumbent 2 years, 308 days

Deputy Ministers

No. Portrait Minister
(Birth-Death)
Constituency
Term of office Political party Ministry Prime Minister
From To Period
1 Major-General
Kumar Shri Himmatsinhji CIE
(1897–1973)
14 August
1950
29 February
1952
1 year, 199 days Indian National Congress Nehru I Jawaharlal Nehru
2 Wing Commander
Surjit Singh Majithia
(1912–1995)
MP for Tarn Taran
12 August
1952
17 April
1957
4 years, 248 days Nehru II
3 Satish Chandra
(1917–1990)
MP for Bareilly

(Defence Production,
from 14 July 1955)
27 November
1952
17 April
1957
4 years, 141 days
(2) Wing Commander
Surjit Singh Majithia
(1912–1995)
MP for Tarn Taran
17 April
1957
10 April
1962
4 years, 358 days Nehru III
4 Kotha Raghuramaiah
(1912–1979)
MP for Guntur
21 May
1957
10 April
1962
4 years, 324 days
5 Dajisaheb Chavan
(1916–1973)
MP for Karad
8 May
1962
27 May
1964
2 years, 32 days Nehru IV
27 May
1964
9 June
1964
Nanda I Gulzarilal Nanda
6 Colonel
Datla Satyanarayana Raju
MP for Rajahmundry
15 June
1964
24 January
1966
1 year, 223 days Shastri Lal Bahadur Shastri
7 Shyam Dhar Mishra
(1919–2001)
MP for Mirzapur
24 January
1966
14 February
1966
21 days Indira I Indira Gandhi
8 M. R. Krishna
MP for Peddapalli
16 November
1967
27 June
1970
2 years, 223 days Indira II
9 Janaki Ballabh Patnaik
(1927–2015)
MP for Cuttack
5 February
1973
23 December
1976
3 years, 322 days Indian National Congress (R) Indira III
10 Brigadier
Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo AVSM
(born 1941)
MP for Dhenkanal
15 January
1982
29 January
1983
1 year, 14 days Indian National Congress (I) Indira IV

See also

References

[1]

  1. ^ "Former Defence Ministers of State". Ministry of Defence GOI. Retrieved 10 May 2023.