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Arun Jaitley is India's finance, defence minister; Sushma Swaraj is foreign minister

Published on May 27, 2014 12:07 PM
(From left) New Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his new Cabinet Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley during swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the new Prime Minister of India at the presidential palace in New Delhi, India on May 26, 2014. -- PHOTO: EPA

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed top corporate lawyer Arun Jaitley as his finance and defence minister, and Mr Sushma Swaraj as the country's foreign minister on Tuesday.

The cabinet portfolios were announced in an official government statement, the morning after Mr Modi and his new team of ministers were sworn into office at a lavish ceremony in New Delhi.

Mr Rajnath Singh, who is president of Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was named home affairs minister, while Ms Maneka Gandhi, who is the sister-in-law of opposition leader Sonia Gandhi, is the new women and child development minister.

Apart from Mr Modi, there are only 23 full-ranking cabinet ministers in the new government – five fewer than under his predecessor Manmohan Singh.

The BJP won the first parliamentary majority for any party in 30 years when the results of a marathon election were announced on May 16, meaning that he did not have to seek out new allies and give them cabinet posts.