National Security Advisor Current Affairs - 2019
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India and Saudi Arabia held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India. The joint statement issued on the sidelines of the bilateral meet between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman highlights the following:
- Affirming that extremism and terrorism threaten all nations, India and Saudi Arabia rejected any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to a particular race, religion or culture.
- Without naming Pakistan the joint statement said that nations should renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
- Constitution of a ‘comprehensive security dialogue’ at the level of national security advisor and setting up of a joint working group on counter-terrorism.
- Saudi Arabia reiterated its commitment to meeting India’s growing needs for crude oil and petroleum products and substitute for any shortages that may arise as a result of disruptions from other sources without naming Iran.
- Saudi Arabia also increased India’s Haj quota by about 25,000. India’s Haj quota now stands at 2 lakh.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that Saudi Arabia has already invested $44 billion in India since the PM’s visit in 2016 and they see an investment opportunity of worth $100 billion in sectors like energy, petrochemicals and manufacturing.
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman condemned the recent terrorist attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
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.