While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed Nripendra Misra as his principal secretary, he is looking to have a national security adviser (NSA) in the former director of Intelligence Bureau, Ajit Doval, and a separate foreign policy adviser to drive his economic diplomacy agenda and function as special envoy for specific tasks.
Top BJP government sources said Doval, who is still to be appointed as the NSA, will be essentially handling internal security and intelligence while the foreign policy adviser will be handling diplomatic initiatives and relations with big powers.
“This is does not mean that the job of the NSA is being bifurcated as JN Dixit was the NSA to PM Manmohan Singh in UPA I with MK Narayanan, now West Bengal governor, as the internal security adviser,” said a senior BJP leader.
It is understood that Modi has discussed the foreign policy adviser proposal with his close aides and a couple of senior Indian Foreign Service officers are under consideration for the new job and have been sounded for it.
The job of the NSA is not limited to diplomacy but is spread over multiple dimensions, including nuclear command, cyber security, intelligence and special representative talks with China.
The NSA also heads the National Technology Coordination Group, National Information Board and National Intelligence Board.
Senior BJP sources said the new government wants Sujatha Singh to continue as the foreign secretary, but wants a foreign policy adviser in place of deputy NSA to the Prime Minister’s Office.
This is a clear cut indicator that the present deputy NSA Nehchal Sandhu will have to make way for the foreign policy adviser.