Shiv Shankar Menon is new National Security Advisor

RPK

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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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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?
 

bengalraider

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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.
 

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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.
 

Yusuf

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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.
 

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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''.
 

Quickgun Murugan

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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Paper no. 3619 22-Jan-2010

M.K.Narayanan

By B. Raman

M.K.Narayanan (also known as MK or MIKE) and I were contemporaries in college, but we had not known each other as students. I met him for the first time in July, 1967, when I joined the Intelligence Bureau (IB) as a Joint Assistant Director (JAD). MK, six years senior to me in the Indian Police Service, had joined the IB some years earlier and was working as an Assistant Director (AD) in a Division dealing with communism. Though very young in the intelligence profession, he had already made a name as a brilliant analyst and was held in great respect by his seniors and other colleagues.

2. He used to share a room with another officer in the South Block. All the young officers of the IB religiously used to gather in his room every day for a shared lunch. It used to be an uproarious gathering discussing men, matters and memories in a humourous manner. MK had always been known for his keen---- and often debunking--- sense of humour and he used to keep everybody laughing. His humour endeared him to many, but caused misunderstandings with others who could not appreciate the humour in his remarks.

3. R.N.Kao was a Joint Director then and occupied a room two rooms after MK's. He used to regularly go home for lunch, but often, before going home, he would peep into MK's lunch club as we used to call it, greet all of us and leave.

4. MK used to talk to Kao as freely and as humourously as he used to talk to me and other juniors without the least sign of nervousness. If I am asked to name three qualities of MK, which I valued most, I would mention his sense of personal dignity, his high standards of personal integrity and his human relationships.

5. MK had the privilege of serving under or with titans of the intelligence profession such as B.N.Mallick, Kao, M.M.L.Hooja, A.K. Dave, K.Sankaran Nair and G.C.Saxena. I had seen him in the company of all these officers except Mallick. He used to show great respect to them and treated them with deference, but I had never seen him exhibit servility or submissiveness to any of them. Even though he was years junior to them, he would talk to them on equal terms and would not hesitate to give his views right or wrong---firmly, but politely.

6. I could cite many instances of his personal integrity, but would confine myself to two. As the head of the IB, he rarely used special aircraft. He invariably chose to travel by the commercial flights of the Indian Airlines. In 2000-2001, he and I served as members of the National Security Advisory Board. The rules permitted the outstation members of the NSAB to stay in a comfortable hotel approved by the Government. MK, who used to come from Chennai, often preferred staying in a small guest house of the IB.

7. His human relationships were and are legendary. He was easily accessible in his office to anyone wanting to see him. He never stood on formalities in meeting people. He knew everyone working in his Divisions by name, by face and by family background. He took keen interest in their personal problems and never hesitated to help them. His staff even at the lowest of the lower levels worshipped him and could cite instances when they took their problems to MK, he found the time to help them. Over the years, the IB has built up excellent traditions of human relationships that are retained even today. MK's contribution to these traditions was immense.

8. I had often seen sections of the media writing that he owed his appointment as the National Security Adviser to his contacts with Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. I never believed such stories. MK has never been known to curry favour with political leaders in order to secure an official position. He was a great networker and maintained excellent relations with many people on both sides of the political spectrum. He got along as famously with V.P.Singh and Chandrasekhar as he did with Rajiv Gandhi. He got along as famously with Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani as he did with Narasimha Rao. He believed that good relations with political leaders helped him in his profession, but he did not look upon such relationships as a means of advancing his career. He was definitely not a careerist, who kept calculating how to go up the ladder.

9. MK is a religious, God-fearing man though in his personal conversations he hardly ever talks of religion or God. I had heard it from reliable sources that when in Delhi he never fails to spend a few minutes every day worshipping in a particular Hanuman temple to which he is attached and that every day he never goes to bed without doing pooja at home however late in the night it might be.

10. In the IB, he had held a large variety of responsibilities before becoming its chief---- as an expert on national and international communism and Dravidian politics, counter-intelligence, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism. His role in dealing with the tribal insurgency in Tripura was highly commended. His contribution to counter-terrorism in J&K and Punjab was very significant. One knows a senior professional by the number of juniors he trained and made them shine. Outstanding IB officers such as A.S.Dulat (J&K) and Ajit Doval (counter-terrorism) greatly benefitted from their training under MK. You name any outstanding officer of the IB, you would find that MK was his mentor at some stage or the other. You will also find that excellent inter-personal relationships was a strong quality of all proteges of MK. He made them imbibe the importance of good team work for success in the intelligence profession.

11. There has been a number of articles on MK's contribution as the NSA. Nobody can talk knowledgeably and authoritatively on this except Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh. The NSA reports directly to the PM, who uses him as a sounding-board for new ideas and initiatives. The relationship between a Prime Minister and his NSA is often more informal than formal. It has to be that way. Nobody can claim to know the kind of close informal relationship that prevailed and continues to prevail between Dr.Manmohan Singh and MK.

12. Even without much direct access to reliable information, one could have a good sense of MK's style of functioning as the NSA. Some examples of MK's initiatives:

* When he realised that there were serious reservations over the Indo-US nuclear co-operation agreement in sections of the community of retired nuclear scientists, he arranged an interaction for them with the Prime Minister so that they could share their concerns with the PM. He did not just dismiss their concerns, but felt it necessary that the Prime Minister should be aware of them before he went ahead with the agreement.
* He managed to establish a folksy relationship with his counterparts in the George Bush Administration which smoothened the negotiations. Both MK and Bush shared a penchant for such folksy relationship. I was told that when Mr. Bush visited India in April 2006, he put his hand around the shoulders of MK and whispered into his ears: "I want this agreement".
* He set up a Task Force headed by Shri K.Subrahmanyam, the doyen of strategic analysts, to give inputs to the PM on how to progress Indo-US relations.
* He set up a similar Task Force reportedly headed by Shri C.V.Ranganathan, former Indian Ambassador to China, to provide inputs on Sino-Indian relations.
* He revived the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which was in limbo under Deve Gowda, Inder Gujral and Vajpayee, and re-invigorated its working as the main analytical tool of the Government.
* He increased the number of academics nominated to the NSAB, which used to be packed with retired Government servants.
* He set up a Task Force headed by Dr.S.D.Pradhan, who was formerly in the NSC Secretariat, to make recommendations on how to improve the functioning of the intelligence agencies.
* He sought to give a strategic dimension to our intelligence collection capabilities by visualising what kind of new capabilities we are likely to need in the years ahead and how to create them. In this context, he paid attention to improving the capabilities relating to weapons of mass destruction terrorism.

13. Without knowing the details of the various initiatives taken by MK and the results achieved, it will be unfair to criticise his record. Only the Prime Minister will know all these details and will be the right person to judge fairly.

14. One might ask with validity, if MK had done all these things, why did the PM decide to shift him from the post and replace him with Shiv Shankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister's first term in office was devoted to establishing the foundations of a new relationship with the US and the European Union countries. MK had no mental reservations on this, whereas diplomats of the Foreign Office, who had won their professional spurs in the years of the cold war, might have dragged their feet in implementing this policy. The PM found in MK the right person for giving shape to his ideas.

15. It is my impression that the PM wants to devote his second term to new initiatives for improving relations with Pakistan. MK, as a hardened intelligence professional, found it difficult to rid himself of his suspicions and reservations vis-a-vis Pakistan. Anyone from the intelligence community might have dragged his feet in concretising the PM's ideas for a new approach towards Pakistan. He wanted a distinguished diplomat with an open mind on Pakistan. He felt that Menon would be the right person for the job.

16. How about China? One feels that the Prime Minister himself is not very certain how fast to move forward in our relations with China. The lingering memories of 1962 and the strong distrust of China in the Indian civil society continue to come in the way of any meaningful initiatives for finding a solution to the border dispute. Will the Prime Minister feel more confident now in thinking of new ideas for pushing forward the border talks? Unless he does so, it would be unfair to expect any significant results from the new NSA.

17. MK's tenure had its negative record too. The first related to his perceived inability to build up an effective command and control in the Government of India for counter-terrorism. The second was his failure to improve morale and man management in the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) and to strengthen cohesion in the Indian intelligence community. A US expert who watched the 26/11 terrorist strikes on the TV, had remarked that he got the impression that there was no single command and control and that nobody appeared to be in total charge of the situation. His observations were not wrong. This was a measure of MK's failure to build up our counter-terrorism capabilities and leadership.

18. MK, who had no experience of diplomacy, did extremely well in high-level diplomacy. He was considered the leading internal security expert of this country, but he was not as successful in this area.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: [email protected])
http://www.defenceforum.in/forum/newreply.php?do=postreply&t=7992
 

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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
 

ppgj

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Do we need another NSA?

V Sudarshan

First Published : 22 Jan 2010 11:10:00 PM IST
Last Updated : 22 Jan 2010 12:02:27 AM IST

Do we really need a national security adviser? Will we be any worse off without another one? Over the past week there has been a spate of analyses, most of it overblown, reverential, wide-eyed, accolade-laden, sycophantic accounts of what a great job the NSA had done in the years he had occupied that position. This is patently illogical. Consider for an intelligence person who occupied that position for so long he could not even fix the intelligence and now P Chidambaram has to do it all over again. If the NSA was doing such a great job then why did he have to leave so seemingly suddenly? The Union home minister P Chidambaram is on record (Hindustan Times, January 21) saying that the Kolkata retirement plan for M K Narayanan was presented to him in December, almost a month before it was formally announced. And Chidambaram, who reveals his wife shares a birthday with M K Narayanan, says that at that time he (Chidambaram) was in the dark about the prime minister’s retirement offer to NSA. Which probably explains some of the analyses that sought to put the spin that the governorship of West Bengal was somehow more important a job and more crucial a task than continuing as the NSA. If you analysed their subtext, it went as follows: Some people are born to become governors; some people achieve governorship; some people have governorships thrust upon them; but M K Narayanan, he is special — he had all three working for him. (I find that a little difficult to believe, frankly, considering the inordinate amount of time the NSA spent on doing political intelligence while being the NSA; political skullduggery was inbuilt in terms of the job skills Narayanan brought with him, a spillover from his hey days in the Intelligence Bureau which for most part is focused on political intelligence.) But newspapers reported that at the Army Day function at General Deepak Kapoor’s house NSA “looked directly” at Chidambaram and quipped: “Am I being sacked?” He was not sacked, really; he was just given a VRS that he couldn’t refuse, which (some argue) could be a reflection of character.

Between the offer and the acceptance and the ultimate announcement there elapsed a considerable period of time, considering that Gopal Gandhi hosted his farewell tea on December 13, 2009 and by then the Congress political managers would have zeroed in on the governor’s successor. Ideally Narayanan’s successor ought to have been announced the same day but it wasn’t. This is pure guesswork: consider the fact that the prime minister has made up his mind that Narayanan should exit the PMO and for some reason the UPA chairperson is also on the same page on this, a strange and inexplicable confluence of stars, considering especially what a brilliant job he had been doing. Why then did it take such a long time to announce the successor? Is it because they cannot find someone big enough to fill Narayanan’s shoes? Or is it because Narayanan’s shoe size had increased because of on the job training to such an extent that it distorted the nature of his job? We have had three NSAs so far. The first one (Brajesh Mishra) lost the job not because he refused a governorship but because his party lost the election; the next didn’t live long enough to accept a governorship — J N Dixit died in harness; the third one got promoted as governor. If the governor’s job is bigger than the NSA’s and governors are dime a dozen and there is only one NSA then ipso facto, we don’t really need an NSA. Might as well scrap the post.

When a prime minister like Manmohan Singh looks for an NSA he doesn’t really look for someone who can call a spade a spade and make his decision making generally more nuanced and difficult; he looks for someone who whines to a foreign publication that the Chinese are hacking into his computer; he looks for someone who does not raise the bar high enough when you negotiate the 123 agreement with the US, which is why you have a civil nuclear agreement where we have full civil nuclear co-operation with the US minus the reprocessing technology and heavy water component; the prime minister looks for science advisers who can make him say completely unrealistically, that we can achieve 40,000 MW of nuclear power in 20 years, that we can achieve 20,000 MW of solar power in 10 years and other similar things that you will not find even in fairy tales; he is looking for a national security adviser who understands his mind and his style of functioning. If we are to go by what Chidambaram is telling us, then you are looking at a prime minister and a party chairperson who do not tell their home minister that they are offering the job of governorship to the national security adviser. Which probably explains why it took a long time to find the next national security advisor.

Now that they have zeroed in on Shiv Shankar Menon, till very recently our foreign secretary, what we will see in the coming days is the emergence of a super foreign secretary, just like the way Narayanan was a super DIB and RAW chief rolled into one (with one crucial difference — he was accountable to no one). Menon was the one who initially postulated that India and Pakistan are both equal victims of terrorism in a diplomatic stratagem to revive the Indo-Pak process after the Havana non aligned summit soon after the Mumbai train blasts; he was the one credited off the record with coming up with that delightful joint terror mechanism that blew up in our face; he was the one who fell on the sword by taking the blame for incorporating the word Balochistan in the Sharm el-Sheikh joint statement (while Narayanan mysteriously escaped the media opprobrium — was he on another planet when the joint statement was being drafted or is it that large sections of our media become automatically blind when it comes to our NSAs?); so the prime minister had good reasons to give him the job. Menon has to finish the job he left halfway. But it will have the effect of forcing the Ministry of External Affairs further into the role of a protocol division whereas it is supposed to be the repository of expertise on a range of subjects. It would have been better, however, for the prime minister, not to get bogged down by nomenclature and appoint instead a pool of experts in relevant subjects to advise him and take particular plans forward to fruition. That way it will meet some NREG (national retired officers employment guarantee scheme) targets as well. If you can have more than one deputy NSA there is no reason why you cannot have more one national adviser for each of the highly nuanced segments of the security spectrum.
Do we need another NSA?
 

S.A.T.A

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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.
 

Daredevil

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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.
 

Agantrope

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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.

Link
 

ppgj

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Paper no. 3622 23-Jan--2010

An Open Letter to the New NSA

By B. Raman

Dear Shri Menon,

I welcome your appointment as the National Security Adviser and wish you well in your new assignment. My purpose in writing this open letter to you is to share with you my thinking on the tasks ahead of you. Since retiring from the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) on August 31, 1994, I have written over a hundred articles on national security management. This letter will repeat some of the points figuring in those articles which are still valid and some others to which I will be giving open expression for the first time.

2. The importance of an action-oriented analytical process was highlighted by Lord Franks of the UK, who was asked by the British Government to enquire into the failure of Britain's national security managers to anticipate and forestall the Argentine occupation of the Falklands Islands in 1982, which led to a brief, but fierce naval conflict. Lord Franks concluded that though there was no secret intelligence regarding the Argentine intentions and plans, there was considerable open source reporting in the US and Argentine media on this, but these reports were not taken seriously and analysed either in the Foreign Office or in the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) to see what those reports implied and what action was called for. Hence, the so-called surprise.

3. The US National Commission, which enquired into the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland, stressed the importance of the culture of joint action for dealing effectively with terrorism. It pointed out that effective coordination alone would not be adequate unless it was supplemented by the operating principle of joint action by all those having any responsibility for counter-terrorism. This principle implies that every piece of intelligence is analysed jointly by everyone responsible for counter-terrorism and acted upon. One of the main purposes of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which came into being in 2004 under the supervision of the Director, National Intelligence, (DNI), would be to enforce this responsibility for joint action. Every counter-terrorism agency would be individually and jointly responsible for ensuring that significant pieces of intelligence are promptly analysed and acted upon.

4. The recent enquiries by officials of the Barack Obama Administration into the failed attempt by a Nigerian student to blow up a US commercial flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day brought out that even more than five years after the NCTC was set up, the culture of an action-oriented analytical approach has not taken hold in the US national security establishment.

5. The father of the student alerted a US diplomat and a CIA officer in Nigeria that his son had got radicalised and was suspected to be in Yemen. The diplomat conveyed the information to the State Department and the CIA officer to his agency's headquarters. Both passed on the information to the NCTC. Days before the student boarded the plane at Amsterdam, the information that he is a security risk was available in the data bases of the US Embassy in Nigeria, the State Department, the CIA and the NCTC, but it was not subjected to a joint analysis to see what the information implied and what joint action on it was called for.

6. In his statement in the Lok Sabha after taking over as the Home Minister after the 26/11 terrorist strike, Shri P.Chidambaram mentioned that he found that responsibility for follow-up action on intelligence reports was diffused. In December last year, the "Hindustan Times" had reported that twice in September, 2008, the R&AW had reported about the Lashkar-e-Toiba's plans for a sea-borne terrorist attack in Mumbai. The paper also quoted a senior unnamed official of the R&AW as saying that its responsibility was to collect and disseminate intelligence and that follow-up action on the intelligence disseminated was not its responsibility. This showed the total absence of the culture of joint action in our national security establishment. This should be a matter of serious concern and needs to be addressed.

7. The Kargil conflict of 1999 revealed a serious deficiency in our analysis and follow-up action process. Every year, the Indian Army had been withdrawing its troops from the Kargil heights during winter. Before the onset of the winter of 1998-99, there were intelligence reports of unusual Pakistani Army activity in the Gilgit-Baltistan area. In the middle of 1998, Shri Shyamal Dutta, the then Director of the Intelligence Bureau, had analysed these activities and sent his assessment to the Prime Minister's Office and other Ministries concerned. One would have expected an immediate meeting of the JIC to consider the implications of these developments and to recommend to the Government whether in the light of these developments the annual winter withdrawal by the Army should be cancelled. Nothing was done in Delhi and the decision to withdraw as usual was taken locally. The result: the Pakistani occupation of the heights.

8. One would have thought that in the light of the detailed lessons drawn by the Kargil Review Committee, the analysis and follow-up action process would have improved. Unfortunately, this was not so. This became evident during the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. The two reports received in September,2008, about the danger of a sea-borne attack by the LET were analysed and security was upgraded by the Mumbai police, the naval authorities and those in charge of physical security in the Taj Hotel. Subsequently, nothing happened for seven weeks. There were no fresh reports.

9. There should have been an analysis in Delhi on what this lack of activity and absence of fresh reports implied. Did it mean that the threat no longer existed and that the security could be down-graded? These were very important questions which should have been examined in Delhi and instructions issued to the concerned authorities in Mumbai as to whether the high-level of security should continue or could be downgraded. This was not done and there were no fresh instructions to Mumbai from Delhi. The local authorities in Mumbai downgraded the security on their own, presuming that the threat was less likely. Delhi was not aware of this till the terrorists struck on 26/11.

10. The analysis, assessment and follow-up action process has been in a state of neglect for many years. Nothing illustrates this more than the state of the JIC. In 1983, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, bifurcated the JIC and created a separate JIC for internal security. Two years later, Rajiv Gandhi reversed her decision and re-merged them. Officers of the IB and the R&AW started monopolising the post of the JIC Chairman. When Shri Inder Gujral was the Prime Minister, a move was made to consider military officers too for this post. As no consensus could be reached on this, the post was kept vacant for nearly three years and the chief of the R&AW was asked to hold additional charge as the Chairman of the JIC. He did not have adequate time to discharge this responsibility. The JIC functioned with no head and only half a body. There was a dramatic drop in the flow of military intelligence reports to the JIC.

11. The Atal Behari Vajpayee Government, which created a new national security management mechanism headed by the NSA, felt that with the creation of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), the JIC had become superfluous and made it a subordinate division of the NSCS with very limited independent powers of analysis, assessment and follow-up action. The Task Force for the Revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus headed by Shri G.C.Saxena, former head of the R&AW, recommended in 2000 that the JIC should be rescued from the limbo to which it had remained confined for about five years and restored to its original authority. It took another six years to implement its recommendation.

12. Previously, for nearly a decade, we had no body for analysis, assessment and follow-up action, today we have three---- the JIC of the old vintage, the NSCS of the 1998-99 creation and the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), which came into existence in 1999 as a body of non-governmental analysts and advisers on national security. From a state of practically no analysis, we have gravitated to one of a plethora of analysis. Analysis for analysis sake without orienting it towards action has become the name of the game.

13. There is a need to re-visit the national security management system created in 1998-99 and subsequently modified by the revival of the JIC in order to ensure that the JIC, the NSCS, the NSAB and the NCTC, to be created in the Ministry of Home Affairs, work in a co-ordinated manner instead of adding to the prevailing confusion. The main responsibility of the JIC and the NCTC should be action-oriented analysis and follow-up action---- the JIC in respect of non-terrorism related threats to national security and the NCTC focusing on terrorism-related threats. The NSCS should confine itself to policy-related analysis to examine how past and present policies in national security matters have been working and whether any changes are called for. The NSAB should provide the inputs for the policy-related work of the NSCS. It should be encouraged to function as the generator of new ideas on specific issues to be referred to it by the PM and the NSA.

Warm regards,

Yours sincerely,

B.Raman, Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi.

Shri Shiv Shankar Menon,

NSA,

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

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