Ajit Doval Current Affairs - 2019

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Ajit Doval reappointed as National Security Adviser

Ajit Doval is reappointed as National Security Advisor (NSA) of India for another five year tenure. In recognition of his earlier contribution in the national security domain, he has also been elevated to rank of Cabinet Minister for this term. During his first term 2014-2019 NSA was given rank of Minister of State (MoS).

About Ajit Doval

  • He is a 1968-batch IPS officer. For over 33 years he worked as an intelligence officer during which he served in North East, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
  • The 74 year old Doval had also done several key diplomatic assignments in Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK).
  • He headed the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) operations wing for over a decade including serving as Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) from July 2004 to January 2005.
  • Post retirement, he founded Vivekananda International Foundation, a public policy think tank headquartered in New Delhi.
  • In May 2014, he was appointed as India’s fifth NSA. Under his supervision, Surgical strike was conducted in September 2016 (aftermath of Uri terror attack) and Balakot airstrike was conducted in February 2019 (aftermath of suicide attack on CRPF convey).

About National Security Advisor (NSA)

  • NSA is the chief adviser to the prime minister of India on national and international security policy matters. He serves at the discretion of Prime Minister of India.
  • NSA is now seen as the most powerful bureaucrat in the Government of India.
  • This post was created in 1998 by then government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Since then either an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) or the Indian Police Service (IPS) serves the post. Senior IFS officer Brajesh Mishra was India’s first NSA (in office from November 1998-May 2004).
  • NSA presides over the National Security Council (NSC). NSC was established in 1998. It is an executive government agency that oversees India’s political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern. It is a three-tiered organization comprising of Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), Strategic Policy Group (SPG) and National Security Advisory Board (NSAB).

Government reconstitutes Security Policy Group under NSA to assist National Security Council

Union Government has reconstituted Security Policy Group (SPG) under chairmanship of National Security Advisor to assist National Security Council (NSC) in strategising on matters dealing with external, internal and economic security of the country.

Security Policy Group (SPG)

SPG will be principal mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs in the formulation of national security policies. It will undertake among other tasks including long-term strategic review of country’s security affairs.

Composition of SPG

It will be 16-member body chaired by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval. Its members will include NITI Aayog Vice Chairman, Cabinet Secretary, Chiefs of the three defence services, RBI governor, foreign secretary, home secretary, finance secretary and defence secretary.

It will also include secretary of Department of Defence Production and Supplies, scientific adviser to Defence Minister and secretary (R), Cabinet Secretariat; Secretary, Department of Revenue; secretary, Department of Atomic Energy; Director, Intelligence Bureau and secretary, Secretary, Department of Space; National Security Council Secretariat.

SPG Meetings

NSA will convene meetings of SPG and cabinet secretary will coordinate implementation of its decisions by Union Ministries and Departments and state governments. SPG can invite representatives of other ministries and departments to its meetings as and when necessary.

Background

SPG mechanism was first notified in April 1999 during regime of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and later was functioning in previous UPA government too. It was recommended by committee which was set up to look into lapses during Kargil. Earlier, it was then chaired by Cabinet Secretary, the most senior bureaucrat in the government.

Comment

The reconstitution of SPG puts NSA at top of national security strategy set-up. It also comes close on heels of decision to set up Defence Planning Committee (DPC), a new strategic think-tank under chairmanship of NSA to formulate national military and security strategy and oversee defence acquisitions from abroad. This makes NSA is all-time powerful now and concentrates too much centralised power in one command centre.