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Arun Jaitley becomes India's finance, defence minister

India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed top corporate lawyer Arun Jaitley as his joint finance and defence minister.

NEW DELHI: India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed top corporate lawyer Arun Jaitley as his joint finance and defence minister and Sushma Swaraj as foreign minister in a streamlined cabinet Tuesday.

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

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

Apart from 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.

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