Shiv Shankar Menon is new National Security Advisor

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by RPK, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Three shortlisted to succeed Narayanan- Hindustan Times

    Three seasoned diplomats are in the running for the post of National Security Advisor (NSA) amid strong indications that the incumbent M. K. Narayanan is on his way out. He is tipped to be sworn in as governor of an important State.

    Appointments to gubernatorial slots under concurrent charge of governors from other states have acquired urgency in the run-up to the Republic Day, sources told Hindustan Times. They said Narayanan’s experience as NSA and former Director of Intelligence Bureau could be useful in the Kolkata Raj Bhawan as the CPM-ruled state fights Naxalism.

    The new NSA could be from among three seasoned diplomats: former foreign secretaries Shiv Shankar Menon and Shyam Saran, and former Indian Ambassador to the United States, Ronen Sen.

    “The PM hasn’t yet taken a call on Narayanan’s successor,” the sources said. Both Menon and Sen were closely associated with the formalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal, the follow up on which is among the NSA’s responsibilities.

    Currently the PM’s special envoy on climate change, Saran had an impressive stint as foreign secretary.

    Barring the controversy over drafting flaws in the Indo-Pak statement at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Menon served with distinction as India’s envoy to China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — portfolios the new NSA is likely to oversee in the PMO —before taking over as foreign secretary upon his return. For his part, Sen, known to be close to the late Rajiv Gandhi, was India’s Ambassador to the US, Russia and Germany. He also had a stint in the country’s nuclear establishment.

    The UPA’s first NSA was J. N. Dixit, whose demise in January 2005 saw Narayanan, then Internal Security Advisor in the PM’ Office, handling foreign policy issues including the India-China boundary talks. Sources said Narayanan’s departure could be a precursor to the NSA focussing on foreign policy matters and home ministry on internal security.

    Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s “New Architecture of Security” proposes changes in the reporting lines of agencies, including those accountable to NSA, under the National Counter-Terrorism Centre.

    On the gubernatorial front, appointments to Raj Bhawans in Andhra, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are likely to be announced over a few days. There are good chances of Chhattisgarh governor E. S. L. Narasimhan being made permanent in his concurrent charge in Andhra. Maharashtra and Punjab governors have also completed their terms and could be replaced.
     
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  3. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    Why was Narayanan ousted?

    First Published : 19 Jan 2010 01:29:00 AM IST
    Last Updated : 19 Jan 2010 09:46:13 AM IST

    NEW DELHI: The abrupt ouster of M K Narayanan from the powerful post of National Security Adviser has, it seems, more to it than just the sharp differences which emerged during his day-to-day functioning with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.There are three reasons to which sources attribute Narayanan’s being shunted out to West Bengal as Governor.The first is that he goofed up on the Telangana issue, misreading the spread of the agitation and drawing Chidambaram to commit a blunder by announcing initiation of the process for the formation of Telangana. The sources said Narayanan relied a bit too much on the judgment of a senior IB man who was sent from New Delhi to AP to gauge the situation, as analysis later revealed that the agitation could have been dealt with at the state level despite TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao’s fast unto death.The second reason has to do with the approach taken with Pakistan after 26/11. While Narayanan was adamant about not having a dialogue with Pakistan unless there was substantial progress on the 26/11 probe, the political view within the government, especially because of US pressure, was to engage Pakistan and get on with the peace process.The differences became more obvious when the government moved on with its agenda and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the joint statement at Sharm el-Sheikh.Finally, Narayanan was dead against Chidambaram’s idea of an over-reaching National Counter Terrorism Centre that would bring the National Technical Research Organisation, Joint Intelligence Committee, Aviation Research Centre and RAW under its command. The move would have clipped Narayanan’s wings as he had a major say in the functioning of these agencies.

    Why was Narayanan ousted?
     
  4. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Two things i find particularly intriguing about all three shortlisted

    1)All three gentlemen shortlisted have no experience whatsoever when it comes to the world of espionage and security(something i feel should be a compulsory requirement). They are all career diplomats chosen primarily for their affinity to madame.

    2)All three gentlemen have a strong Pro-U.S side having had major roles in pushing for the recently concluded Indo -U.S nuclear deal. expect more PAX-americana indica ahead.

    i.e- i do not like all three choices no independent minds there.would have preferred a retired COAS instead.
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but I read or heard in some news that Menon has already been appointed as the next NSA.
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I think the right person to be the NSA would be an ex spook. Career diplomats are not the right people to be in that chair. Someone like B Raman would be a good choice.
     
  7. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Armed forces want nuclear specialist in NSA restructuring - India - The Times of India

    NEW DELHI: With the role of the national security adviser up for some tinkering after M K Narayanan's exit, the armed forces are keen that "a specialist'' takes charge of all matters connected to nuclear weapons.

    A chief of defence staff (CDS), over the three Service chiefs, of course, would have been ideal to act `a single-point military advisor' to the government as well as manage the country's nuclear arsenal.

    But with the government still apathetic towards creation of this crucial post, which would also help in formulating concrete long-term strategic plans, the clamour is growing for `a person well-versed in nuclear matters' to play the lead role in the `executive council' of the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).

    "As we saw with first Brajesh Mishra and now Narayanan, the NSA has too many things on his plate...external affairs, internal security, intelligence, Nuclear Command Authority etc,'' said a senior officer.

    "Nuclear command and control matters, which involve armed forces, DRDO, DAE and the like, are too important and complex to be left to generalists,'' he added.

    This seems all the more significant since the new NSA is likely to be more of a diplomatic adviser, as seems likely with former foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon being the frontrunner, and home minister P Chidambaram becoming the internal security and intelligence czar.

    There are some, including Narayanan, who feel it would be foolhardy to bifurcate the external and internal matters since their threats and challenges are so intertwined with each other.

    The armed forces, on their part, have for long cribbed about being "kept out of the nuclear loop''. Both Mishra and Narayanan, apart from other roles, had also acted as super-CDSes, chairing as they also did the executive council of the Nuclear Command Authority. They did have deputy NSAs to focus on military matters but they were not specialists.

    The Nuclear Command Authority and the tri-Service Strategic Forces Command (SFC) were created to manage the nuclear arsenal in January 2003, after the 10-month troop mobilisation along the Indo-Pak border under `Operation Parakram' in wake of the December 2001 Parliament attack.

    The authority's architecture comprises the executive council and the higher `political council', chaired by the Prime Minister and the "sole body which can authorise the use of nuclear weapons''.

    The executive council, in turn, is tasked with `providing inputs for decision-making' by the Nuclear Command Authority as well as `executing directives' given to it by the political council. This itself does not find favour with some strategic experts, who hold that the `nuclear button' cannot rest with `a committee'.

    "It has to be a single leader who takes the decision after getting sound political-strategic-military advice,'' said an expert. Of course, there also have to be clear-cut "alternate chains of command'' for retaliatory nuclear strikes if the political leadership is "decapitated'' in a pre-emptive first strike by an adversary.

    India's nuclear doctrine, after all, lays down that while there will be no-first use, "nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage''.
     
  8. Quickgun Murugan

    Quickgun Murugan Regular Member

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    What the hell?

    Former US ambassador can be next NSA? No wonder our security situation is so poor.

    NSA should have military background or should be ex-RAW or IB or from CBI who actually understand what the security issues are. God save India.
     
  9. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    More effective externally than internally

    Siddharth Varadarajan, January 20, 2010

    With the record of 11 years and three incumbents before us, a review of the National Security Adviser’s role as an institution is needed to see what improvements are possible.

    India is unique in combining a parliamentary system with the institution of a National Security Adviser who has wide-ranging executive responsibilities in the areas of foreign policy, intelligence, nuclear command and control as well as long-term strategic planning.

    Created in 1998 following a series of high-level committees that studied the management of national security and intelligence, the NSA was intended to be the prime mover of a multi-tiered planning structure with the National Security Council (NSC) headed by the Prime Minister at the apex. An NSC Secretariat (NSCS) was created to service the Council, which subsumed the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and its staff within it. Finally, a National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) of outside experts was set up to generate independent inputs to the NSC.

    A decade later, it is logical that the functioning of these structures be reviewed to see how effective the system has been.

    In a series of on-the-record and background interviews with key participants in the NSC system over the past decade — including Brajesh Mishra, who was NSA from 1998 to 2004, and half-a-dozen former chiefs of India’s internal and external intelligence agencies — the picture that emerges is one of a system that has delivered mixed results and is in need of refinement, enhanced staffing and a clearer delineation of tasks.

    If the institution of the NSA proved to be an unqualified success in dealing with complex foreign policy issues with national security implications such as the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 highlighted the absence of focussed intelligence coordination. As for long-term national security assessment and planning — the original raison d’etre of the NSCS — most of the former officials interviewed by The Hindu believe this is the weakest link in the system, a view disputed by those who are currently on the inside.

    As matters stand, the NSA today formally wears three broad hats. First, as coordinator of complex foreign policy initiatives and interlocutor with the big powers on strategic matters, he is diplomatic adviser to the Prime Minister. Second, as head of the NSCS, he is a long-term planner, anticipating new threats and challenges to national security. Third, as chair of the Executive Council of the Nuclear Command Authority, he is the overseer of India’s nuclear weapons programme and doctrine. Due to the legacy of weak leadership in the Ministry of Home Affairs during Shivraj Patil’s years, the NSA’s job under M.K. Narayanan slowly expanded to take on a fourth role — internal security issues like Kashmir, the North-East and Naxalism. Intelligence coordination and tasking, particularly in counter-terrorism, also became part of his turf, mainly because of his own background.

    This was not how things were meant to be. The NSA, whether in presidential systems like the U.S. or Russia or parliamentary systems like Britain, where he is a diplomatic adviser, only deals with international issues, said Mr. Mishra.

    While the main turf battle his predecessors waged was with the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Narayanan’s role as the country’s de facto internal security czar opened a second potential front of conflict. Intelligence chiefs reported to him, and his office became the clearing house for the collation, processing and tasking of intelligence. As long as the power vacuum created by a weak Ministry of Home Affairs remained, this front would remain dormant. But when P. Chidambaram moved into the Home Ministry in the wake of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, things changed. Soon after that, Mr. Narayanan found himself joining the intelligence chiefs in a daily meeting chaired by the Home Minister in North Block. But he remained in charge of other bits of the intelligence set-up.

    As was to be expected of an institution that was not only new but also alien to the existing patterns of bureaucracy, the NSC structure has evolved in a way that closely mirrors the priorities and focus of the NSA. Under Brajesh Mishra, who held the post from 1998 to 2004 concurrent with his job as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the NSCS was run by the Deputy to the NSA (DNSA), Satish Chandra, at the time a serving Secretary-level Foreign Service officer. Intelligence tasking was carried out by the Intelligence Coordination Group (ICG), which brought the consumers of intelligence products together with the producers under the chairmanship of the NSA, and the NSCS staff conducted research and produced papers on the long-term challenges to India’s security. “The NSCS had anticipated many of the threats we see now,” said Mr. Chandra in an interview. “For example, awareness about pandemics and their implications was discussed by us in 2000-2002 and pushed into the system”. As for the NSA himself, Mr. Mishra devoted most of his energy to foreign policy and did not involve himself too closely in intelligence matters

    Though Mr. Mishra was considered effective and influential, he was not without his critics at the time. K. Subrahmanyam, doyen of India’s strategic thinkers and in many ways the prime mover of the NSA/NSC concept within the country, repeatedly argued in favour of a full-time NSA unencumbered by the task of running the PMO. But in an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Subrahmanyam now acknowledges that Mr. Mishra’s political proximity to Prime Minister Vajpayee was an effective diplomatic instrument that allowed India to emerge as a global player. “By combining the jobs of Principal Secretary and NSA, Brajesh was able to interact with the big powers and very effectively projected India’s image as a major power,” he said. “Even though I was a critic, I don’t think he would have been able to play that role without combining the two jobs.”

    When the United Progressive Alliance government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came to power in 2004, J.N. Dixit, another former diplomat, was appointed NSA. At the same time, a new post of Special Advisor for Internal Security was created and Mr. Narayanan, a former Director of the IB, named to the job. Contrary to public impression, however, the new post was not intended to dilute the NSA’s mandate in any way. “An order was issued in June 2004 that the NSA will be responsible for intelligence and coordination and that the Internal Security Advisor ‘may also be marked’ on intelligence matters,” C.D. Sahay, who was head of RAW at the time, said in an interview. Other officials familiar with internal deliberations within the PMO said Mr. Narayanan was, in fact, Dr. Singh’s first choice for NSA but was unable to accept the position because of an illness. Upon Mr. Dixit’s sudden demise in January 2005, however, the job landed on to his plate after the Prime Minister first considered naming either Ronen Sen or S.K. Lambah, both former diplomats, to the job.

    As NSA, Mr. Narayanan’s biggest achievement was managing the inter-agency process that fed into the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. In January 2005, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, then the French President’s Diplomatic Adviser, arrived in New Delhi with a non-paper spelling out a broad proposal on behalf of the U.S., France and Britain for the resumption of nuclear commerce with India. The July 2005 Indo-U.S. agreement grew out of that visit, with both Mr. Narayanan and the MEA playing key roles in framing the nature of the bargain. Negotiations with the U.S. over the separation of civil and military nuclear facilities, the nature of safeguards and fuel assurances, reprocessing and other issues were difficult and often saw the MEA, the Indian Embassy in Washington and the Department of Atomic Energy at logger-heads with each other. As head of the ‘apex group’ overseeing the negotiations, the NSA had to reconcile these positions. Later, he had to directly step in at the highest levels to get the U.S. to stick to its commitments.

    Speaking of American NSAs, on whom the Indian equivalent was modelled, Ivo Daalder and I.M. Destler wrote: “They must provide confidential advice to the President yet establish a reputation as an honest broker between the conflicting officials and interests across the government.” The nuclear deal was, in many ways, tailor-made for the Indian NSA’s office because at an institutional level there was nobody else who could play that kind of co-ordinating role. The Prime Minister was committed to the nuclear deal but his officials were divided on its details. Forging a common position, mostly, as it turned out, on the basis of the DAE’s arguments, was Mr. Narayanan’s big contribution.

    Mr. Narayanan also emerged as a key player in India’s renewed engagement with other big powers, especially Russia, France, China and Japan. Most of this never made the headlines. The NSA’s is by definition a plodding job in which he has to put lots of small things together, especially in order to cover for the inadequacies of the Indian bureaucratic system. Even the diplomatic adviser part is not just about having bright ideas but about installing the machinery to make things happen. And his importance internationally stems from the authority he carries as the Prime Minister’s representative.

    When it came to Pakistan, however, the NSA’s multiple roles came into conflict with each other, especially in recent months. As diplomatic adviser, Mr. Narayanan should have found ways of pressing ahead with the kind of engagement the Prime Minister repeatedly said he favoured. But as an internal security czar who had fought off calls for his resignation after 26/11, he knew another terrorist strike would cost him his job — especially if he was seen as backing the idea of dialogue with Islamabad. Slowly but surely, the adviser had fallen out of step with the agenda of his principal.

    The Hindu : Columns / Siddharth Varadarajan : More effective externally than internally
     
  10. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Shiv Shankar Menon is new National Security Advisor

    Shiv Shankar Menon has been appointed as India's [ Images ] new National Security Advisor, sources in the Prime Minister's Office informed on Thursday.

    An official order in this regard will be issued later in the day.

    Menon retired as Foreign Secretary in August, ending a career marked him out as one of India's best bureaucrats to hold the post. The fact that he superseded 12 seniors to be appointed to the post in 2006 when his equally capable predecessor Shyam Saran retired has more than paid off.

    Earlier, as India's envoy in Pakistan, Sri Lanka [ Images ] and China, and while handling Nepal in New Delhi [ Images ], he chose the JN Dixit approach of 'neighbourhood first'.

    As a middle-level officer in Vienna [ Images ] and later as the MEA representative in the Department of Atomic Energy, he found no difficulty in getting his mind around complex disarmament and proliferation issues.
     
  11. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    http://www.defenceforum.in/forum/newreply.php?do=postreply&t=7992
     
  12. plugwater

    plugwater Elite Member Elite Member

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    The untold walkout

    Washington, Jan. 21: M.K. Narayanan’s fate as national security adviser (NSA) was sealed two days before Christmas last year when he walked out of a meeting addressed by Union home minister P. Chidambaram.

    Chidambaram, by temperament, is not one to take slights in his stride. But for him, Narayanan’s intemperate walkout from the December 23 meeting represented more than just a slight.

    It meant an undisguised revolt by the NSA against the home minister, the culmination of months-long sparring between two of the most powerful men on Raisina Hill, the nerve centre of the central government.

    Chidambaram had just outlined his ambitious agenda for restructuring India’s national security architecture, an agenda which has been in the making since his visit to the US last September, and which would have made Narayanan redundant in his incumbent role as NSA.

    Narayanan is a man who is courteous to the core in the best traditions of Malayali tharavaditham, or the urbane habits of families with a long lineage.

    Those who have known him during his long years in Chennai and New Delhi know that it is his habit never to leave an event without having a word with the host.

    If he had another engagement to go to before the conclusion of a meeting — as was often the case — he would tell his hosts and the chief guest in advance.

    On December 23, he did not tell either Chidambaram or the director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Rajiv Mathur, that he had to leave early, according to people who would have known if Narayanan had done so.

    Narayanan’s walkout was, therefore, intended to send a message.

    A small reception was to follow the December 23 event, the IB’s Centenary Endowment Lecture, an annual high point for the bureau, which is a second home to Narayanan.

    If Narayanan’s decision not to stay for the reception and pointedly walk out of the meeting was meant to be a message, Chidambaram promptly got it.

    The supreme irony was that Chidambaram had just finished talking about resistance to his agenda by people like Narayanan, without mentioning names, of course.

    “There are two enemies of change,” Chidambaram said in his IB Centenary Endowment Lecture, according to its official transcript. “The first is ‘routine’. Routine is the enemy of innovation. Because we are immersed in routine tasks, we neglect the need for change and innovation.”

    Those from India’s intelligence community who were present at the meeting knew only too well that the barb was directed at the national security adviser.

    Narayanan has been a life-long intelligence officer, but one schooled in the old ways, precisely the old ways that Chidambaram wants to eliminate, impressed by his recent exposure to the New York Police Department’s preparedness and briefings by US agencies such as America’s Counter-Terrorism Center.

    Besides, it has been many years since the task of reforming India’s intelligence agencies had been entrusted to Narayanan with a clear mandate.

    He had not only fallen short, but morale and operational efficiency at the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external spy agency, had touched their nadir during Narayanan’s tenure as NSA.

    It also did not help Narayanan during his turf wars with Chidambaram in recent months that it was well known that RAW had reached its lowest point ever through acts of commission rather than omission.

    Although Narayanan was present when Chidambaram was criticising his ways by implication, he was in no position to respond verbally: the only thing he could do was to walk out in a show of displeasure.

    Chidambaram continued: “The second enemy is ‘complacency’. In a few days from today, 2009 will come to a close and I sincerely hope that we may be able to claim that the year was free from terror attacks. However, there is the danger of a terror-free year inducing complacency, signs of which can be seen everywhere.

    “A strange passivity seems to have descended upon the people: they are content to leave matters relating to security to a few people in the government and not ask questions or make demands. I wish to raise my voice of caution and appeal to all of you assembled here and to the people at large that there is no time to be lost in making a thorough and radical departure from the present structure.”

    For most of those present, Narayanan embodied what Chidambaram euphemistically referred to as “the present structure”.

    The home minister concluded: “If as a nation we must defend ourselves in the present day and prepare for the future, it is imperative that we put in place a new architecture for India’s security.”

    It was like Mao Zedong’s call to bypass the structure of the Chinese state and its Communist Party apparatus and launch the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966.

    Narayanan, as one of the key men in India’s national security architecture under three Prime Ministers, had to express his displeasure.

    He could not sheepishly remain at the reception after this and calmly sip tea while everyone present knew — but would say nothing — that he had been openly targeted by Chidambaram. He simply walked out.

    For Chidambaram, the NSA’s response to his agenda was confirmation of what he had surmised and suspected for many months as the home minister slowly and steadily encroached on Narayanan’s turf.

    So far, Chidambaram had won all the battles, but he was yet to win the war. An openly hostile Narayanan would be a formidable enemy: the war could yet be won, but the spoils may elude Chidambaram.

    Narayanan’s exile to Calcutta was imperative to winning the war.

    Besides, Chidambaram had only recently emerged badly bruised from a little-known but significant turf war with one of his two ministers of state, Mullappally Ramachandran.

    Chidambaram, who prefers to entrust work in the ministries he presides over to bureaucrats rather than politicians, had given Ramachandran little to do in the home ministry.

    After smarting for quite some time, Ramachandran approached Congress president Sonia Gandhi. But he did not complain about Chidambaram. Nor did he ask for the situation to be remedied. Ramachandran simply asked to be relieved from the cabinet and allowed to remain an ordinary MP.

    With elections due in Kerala next year and the Congress certain to retake power, Sonia did not want to upset the apple cart in the state. Unlike Chidambaram, Ramachandran has his roots among the people and is a formidable leader in the state.

    Sonia got to the bottom of the junior home minister’s grievance, summoned Chidambaram and instructed that not only should Ramachandran be given work commensurate with his political standing, but that his work should also not be interfered with, according to Congress sources in Kerala.

    This was all the more reason why Narayanan’s revolt had to be nipped in the bud. Besides, owing to shared ethnicity, there was always a possibility that Narayanan could strike up an alliance with the junior home minister.

    There was also G.K. Pillai, the Union home secretary, an upright officer, but one who has deep roots in Kerala and has worked with senior Kerala politicians who would be a factor in the battles if Narayanan remained in the PMO. His exit, therefore, became inevitable for the health of the cabinet system of governance.

    The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Frontpage | The untold walkout
     
  13. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Do we need another NSA?
     
  14. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    The NSA has essentially played the dual role of a political advisor and a liaison between the executive and the various intelligence and security agencies.I totally agree with the author above there no need for another NSA.What PC needs to focus on is to carry forward his mission to restructure the ministry of Home affairs.

    The ministry needs to split into..
    A-Ministry of home affairs dealing with non security related center-state related issues ...

    B-Ministry of Home security exclusive dealing with all issues that impinge on national and civil security.

    PC will have spearhead new bills that will ensure smooth restructuring and state govt's will have to be taken on board.National security demands a full fledged minster and ministry not another advisor.
     
  15. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    I think PC is one of the better Home ministers that we had in a long time. Hope his reforms/restructuring bear fruits.
     
  16. Agantrope

    Agantrope Senior Member Senior Member

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    NSA Menon to shift focus on neighbours?

    NEW DELHI: The change of guard in PMO, with former foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon taking over as National Security Adviser is likely to lead to greater focus on India's borders -- an arc of interest encompassing Af-Pak, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China and Myanmar.

    Given Menon's facility with neighbouring nations, his appointment as NSA is seen to indicate that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keen on tackling somelong-running sores. Stability in India's ties with countries vital to its geo-political interests may well be top priority for the PM in his second term.

    Sources confirmed that a renewed engagement with neighbours was on the cards. And while pushing peace with Pakistan remained a fraught project -- as the row over IPL excluding Pakistani cricketers showed -- there would no lack in India's effort to mend ties as long as Islamabad clearly understood the need to convincingly crack down on terrorism.

    A start has already been made with India reciprocating Dhaka's cooperation over terror by a generous line of credit and removing the Tipaimukh dam, seen as an irritant in Bangladesh's internal politics, from bilateral discourse. Former NSA M K Narayanan was very much part of the Bangladesh script, but the new NSA's job may be much more geared to fashioning a cooperative doctrine.

    Singh feels the need to frame a response to the surge in China's clout. His discussions with foreign leaders like Russia's Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin besides others, have convinced him of the need to fashion a sound approach to the newly assertive neighbour. Menon has a less alarmist view on China, and dismisses the "string of pearls" theory of military encirclement of India as a "pretty ineffective murder weapon".

    An engagement with China without straining ties is pretty much what the PM believes is necessary. The bellicose Chinese response to Dalai Lama's visit to Tawang last year did surprise India and caliberating relations in a manner that takes into account China's super-power aspirations as well as internal anxieties over Tibet and Xinjiang will need skill, patience and firmness.

    Sources said India was better placed to improve ties with Sri Lanka and Myanmar today than has been the case previously. The defeat of LTTE has created massive human challenges in terms of displaced persons but Tamils are being wooed by both the leading candidates in Sri Lanka's national elections. Though Tamils remain cautious, they could be one of the deciding factors. Cooperation with Myanmar was progressing as the junta there had acted against anti-India insurgents.

    The mood on Pakistan post the Sharm el-Sheikh fiasco is cautious. But the PM has tried to push for peace in the past once telling a TV interviewer in May last year that he and former Pakistan president Gen Pervez Musharraf had been close to a "non-territorial" solution on Kashmir.

    In his capacity as NSA, Narayanan often did the plain-talking on security, not mincing words on threats like jihadi groups or Left-wing extremists. He has on occasion spoken frankly about India's atomic establishments being targets, of terror money in stock markets or of marine jihadis. In short, he presented what is seen as a hard-nosed view of the security situation.

    A foreign service professional with an eye for historical processes, Menon is more in sync with the PM's view that some out-of-the-box thinking was needed to break time-defying logjams. Though Sharm el-Sheikh joint statement has now been abandoned, the ill-fated document reflected PM's desire to move beyond the "obvious". The Baluchistan reference was explained as reflective of India's confidence that it had "nothing to hide".

    It is not that Menon isn't pragmatic on Pakistan. "If you owe the bank enough, you end up owning it" is the pithy manner in which he likes to sum up Pakistan's ability to leverage the US. The PM himself has insisted that unequivocal steps against terror by Pakistan are a must.

    Menon's role in the India-US nuclear deal makes it obvious that he will not be confined to neighbourhood issues alone. The PM is quite conscious of India's role in world affairs but it is also felt that it can't be bypassed on any number of issues ranging from climate change to economic recovery. Setting India's backyard in order can't be put off much longer.

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  17. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    http://southasiaanalysis.org/\papers37\paper3622.html
     

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