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Security council to get military advisor soon

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 11-10-2018
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Following the re-designation of RN Ravi as the deputy national security advisor, the government is planning to fill the post of military advisor in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) as well, said officials familiar with the development.

“Former director general of Defence Intelligence Agency, Lt. General VG Khandare, is the front runner for the job of military advisor,” said an official on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Lt. General Prakash Menon was the last military advisor in the NSCS between 2011 and 2014. After his stint as military advisor, he remained an officer on special duty in the NSCS for two years between 2015 and 2017.

Ravi, the Centre’s interlocutor for talks with Naga groups, was chief of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), a subsidiary body of the NSCS, and tasked with assessment of intelligence gathered by intelligence agencies. He was re-designated as deputy NSA (internal affairs) last week by the government.

Besides, Ravi, who is a former Intelligence Bureau special director, the two other deputy NSAs are Rajinder Khanna, a former external intelligence agency chief, and diplomat Pankaj Saran.

“There is clear work division among the three deputy NSAs – while Ravi deals with internal affairs, Khanna is looking after intelligence and technical issues with a strategic point of view while Saran is handling diplomatic strategy,” said the official.

National Cyber Security Coordinator Gulshan Rai too is part of the NSCS.

As part of streamlining the strategic-security architecture of the country, the government amended its 1999 notification and made the NSA chairman of the Strategic Policy Group (SPG) instead of the cabinet secretary.

The job of the SPG is to assist the NSCS and to undertake a long-term strategic defence review. It is also designated as the principal mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs in the formulation of national security policies.

“All the changes in the nomenclature and streamlining is fine as it will help the NSCS to work in a cohesive and coordinated manner. Since NSA Ajit Doval has the full confidence of the Prime Minister, he is also in a unique position to build the capacity of the institutions that already exist in the strategic and security architecture of the county,” says Arun Chaudhary, who had a long stint in the Intelligence Bureau before retiring as chief of Sashastra Seema Bal.

The NSCS is headed by the NSA and he is also secretary to the apex National Security Council which is headed by the Prime Minister.

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