On November 6, 1985 President Ali Hassan Mwinyi appointed Dr. Salim as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and National Service. The Deputy Prime Minister role was a newly created position and has since been defunct.
"For I always recall the very good and challenging times that I spent as Minister of Defence of my country. It is no exaggeration that of all positions of national responsibility that I have had during more than twenty five years of public service, my position in the Defence Ministry is the most memorable, at times difficult but always challenging and exciting." - Dr. Salim, May 19, 1991