Ajit Doval Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
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.
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.
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.
The Union Government has formed Defence Planning Committee (DPC), a new integrated institutional mechanism that will drive country’s military and security strategy and guide defence equipment acquisitions. It will be under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
The committee will be a permanent body and it will prepare draft national security strategy besides undertaking strategic defence review and formulating international defence engagement strategy.
Composition: It will consist of Chairman Chiefs of the Staff Committee (COSC), service chiefs, Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Secretary (expenditure) in the Finance Ministry.
Structure: The committee will operate through four sub-committees: on Policy and Strategy, Defence Diplomacy, Plans and Capability Development and Defence Manufacturing Ecosystem. The membership and the terms of reference of the sub-committees will be finalized separately. Foreign Secretary and Expenditure Secretary being member of DPC will help to overcome problems of coordination between various ministries on matters of national security.
Functions: DPC has been tasked to undertake external security risk assessment and define national defence and security priorities. It will formulate national military strategy, draft national security strategy and strategic defence review. It will identify means and ways across ministries, obtain Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approval for capability development plan and provide guidance for budgetary support.
The DPC will also prepare roadmap to build defence manufacturing ecosystem, strategy to boost defence exports and prioritized capability plans for armed forces in consonance with overall priorities, strategies and likely resource flows. It will submit all its reports to defence minister.
Considering the complex security environment and volume of expenditure on national defence, it was imperative to have strong defence planning mechanism. The present system was found insufficient to provide rigour necessary for planning process. So it was mandated to create an institutional mechanism which can undertake comprehensive and integrated planning of higher defence matters.