Modi govt may discontinue security advisory board started by Atal govt

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 11, 2015 21:34 IST

The Narendra Modi government is likely to discontinue the national security advisory board (NSAB), a high-profile expert group that advises the national security council headed by the prime minister with the national security adviser as its secretary.

The NSAB was started by former prime minister Atal Bjhari Vajpayee's NDA government in December 1998 with K Subrahmanyam as its convener with a mandate to undertake long-term analysis and provide perspectives on issues of national security. Its policy recommendations and options are conveyed to the National Security Council for its consideration.

Sources told HT the Centre prefers to have "specific tasks" handled by a group or individuals instead of an expert body whose focus has remained general in nature.

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran heads the present NSAB that has 17 members. The board's two-year tenure ended in January 2015. The board had one just meeting with prime minister Narendra Modi in the past one year.

"The prime minister's focus seems to be on very specific issues. I don't think the prime minister is enthused by former bureaucrats, military and intelligence officials, scholars doing studies which are analytic in nature," a member of the board told HT on condition of anonymity.

Srinath Raghavan, another member of the NSAB, said "I cannot comment on any of these things." Shyam Saran too didn't respond to HT's queries via text messages.

Previous NSAB studies include a strategic defence review in 2002 and a National Security Review in 2007. Among the issues the board last dealt with were neighbourhood strategy, strategic communications, and internal security.

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