First-ever National Security Doctrine on drawing board

Forced into action by a dramatically changing security environment that has only worsened since the Mumbai attacks....

Written by Pranab Dhal Samanta | New Delhi | Published:March 8, 2009 1:31 am

Forced into action by a dramatically changing security environment that has only worsened since the Mumbai attacks,the UPA government is said to have started work on drawing up a first-ever National Security Doctrine,which,along with threat assessments,will look at India’s preparedness.

While the exact contours of this doctrine is still under discussion,sources said,the National Security Council Secretariat is currently the nodal agency and has asked for inputs from various agencies and ministries concerned with national security.

The NDA government too had thought of something similar and the first step in that direction was the draft nuclear doctrine. However,a comprehensive document could never be compiled and the idea had slid into the backburner.

The current exercise is said to be still in its nascent stages with few initial discussions being held on the subject so far. There is also a view that such an exercise ought to be preceded by wide ranging reforms in the security set-up which is currently not geared to fashion an immediate and concerted response to major threats like a big terror attack.

These were some of the issues which even the Vajpayee government grappled with,but many of the initiatives started then suffered in the overlap. Sources said there were as many as 350 points of action in the realm of intelligence and security reforms which were under constant monitoring when the UPA came to power but they apparently fell off the radar in due course.

It took the Mumbai attack,according to officials,for the government to refocus the attention of the Multi-agency Centre. Similarly,the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) that was created after the Kargil war to be the country’s premier technical intelligence agency has still to take off and,in fact,has not been able to get its institutional set-up in order until now.

Sources said a National Security Doctrine could turn out to be a “theoretical” exercise though others argue that most developed countries do have such doctrines which are periodically revised and India too must have such a document to devise long-term security and diplomatic policies.

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