National Security Council revamp likely
With the Bharatiya Janata Party winning the general elections decisively under the leadership of Narendra Modi, there is keen anticipation that the post of national security adviser (NSA) will get more muscle. While a revamp of the National Security Council (NSC) is on the cards, there is also speculation on whether the BJP-led Government would restore the importance of the chair of the NSA who reports directly to the Prime Minister. Incidentally, the post was created by the Vajpayee-led NDA Government in 1998 but suffered major dilution during the tenure of the UPA Government.
Top sources said this may be done by allowing a gradual tactical shift of functions from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the NSC, particularly on matters related to intelligence. The NSA is the chief executive of the NSC and the primary adviser to the Prime Minister. The NSC is currently a toothless body rendered redundant by the multiple agencies performing overlapping functions of internal security threat assessments and intelligence gathering.
The country’s first NSA was appointed by the NDA Government in November 1998 and played a major role in the country’s foreign policy and security manoeuvres. The first NSA, Brajesh Mishra, who was also principal secretary to the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, had an all-encompassing role in matters of national security.
Meanwhile, the second-biggest task the BJP has set out for itself in the MHA is to improve Centre-state relations by bringing all state governments on board on the key issues of anti-terror operations, intelligence-sharing and tackling left-wing extremism.
Some tough measures include insulating intelligence agencies from political intervention and interference — a key pointer to the overhauling of the Intelligence Bureau and National Investigation Agency set up by the UPA Government in 2009 and accused of working as a tool of the government of the day.