With new order, NSA Ajit Doval to be most powerful bureaucrat in 20 years

The Central government decided to bring back the Strategic Policy Group that will assist the National Security Council, making Ajit Doval, one of the most powerful bureaucrat in India

PTI image
PTI image

NH Web Desk

The Central government decided to bring back the Strategic Policy Group that will assist the National Security Council. It will also help in a long-term strategic defence review and it will make Ajit Doval, the National Security Adviser (NSA) one of the most powerful bureaucrats in India since the post was created in 1998.

The policy group will be the main mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of inputs in forming national security policies, said a senior Home Ministry official to NDTV.

Earlier, the group was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, who has now been replaced by Ajit Doval, and the Cabinet Secretary will report to him.

The inclusion of the NITI Aayog makes Ajit Doval’s role even more powerful. Members include the NITI Aayog vice chairman, the cabinet secretary, the three military chiefs, the Reserve Bank of India governor, the foreign secretary, home secretary, finance secretary and the defence secretary.

The secretary of the Department of Defence Production and Supplies, the scientific adviser to the defence minister and the secretary, cabinet secretariat will also be on the panel. So will top officers of the departments of revenue, atomic energy, space and the Intelligence Bureau. Other ministries and departments will be invited to meetings when needed.

NSA Ajit Doval will chair meetings and the Cabinet Secretary will be in charge of coordinating with the ministries and states to implement the decisions taken by the SPG.

Aditya Raj Kaul @AdityaRajKaul
Aditya Raj Kaul @AdityaRajKaul

A senior functionary of the government said that the revival of the policy wasn’t a new change. stating that the the group functioned under the previous UPA governments. It was set up on the recommendation of the committee that was set up to look into the lapses during the Kargil war.

Another senior bureaucrat stated that the sudden revival of the policy group might bring up questions with the intentions of the government being unknown.

A retired bureaucrat was of the opinion that the NSA is now all-time powerful and it could be detrimental to democracy because of too much centralised power in one command centre.

The NSA is meant to regularly advise the PM on threats, both internal and external. Their main focus will be on overseeing strategic and sensitive issues for the Prime Minister.

The reconstituted policy group also places the National Security Adviser at the top of the country's security strategy set-up as Mr Ajit Doval was also recently appointed chairman of the defence planning committee, a new strategic think tank.

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Published: 09 Oct 2018, 3:42 PM