The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) has been expanded with the induction of Amar Sinha, former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and former IB chief Asif Ibrahim as its members. While former R&AW officer Tilak Deveshwar’s name was also said to be on the list, an official confirmation was awaited till the filing of this report.
Former Ambassador to Russia, P S Raghavan, who was inducted in June this year, will continue to head NSAB, officials said. The NSAB deals with internal and external security, foreign affairs, defence, science and technology and economic affairs and usually meets at least once a month. Former R&AW official A B Mathur, Lt Gen (retd) S L Narasimhan and Prof Bimal N Patel of Gujarat National Law University are the other members of the board.
Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran headed the previous NSAB, whose tenure ended in January 2015 and which had 14 members. The NDA government has significantly reduced the composition of the NSAB to just four members, including the Chairman. The NSAB is likely to have a two-year tenure.
Over the years, the NSAB has contributed a large number of studies on both current and long-term issues of strategic significance. It produced a Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 2001, a Strategic Defence Review in 2002 and a National Security Review in 2007. The first NSAB was set up in 1998 with K Subrahmanyam as its convener.
The National Security Council is the apex body in a three-tier structure, headed by the Prime Minister and with the National Security Adviser as its Secretary. The Strategic Policy Group which was earlier chaired by the Cabinet Secretary is now chaired by NSA Ajit Doval. This is the first expansion after Doval took charge of the SPG which consists of senior officials responsible for policy-making and for follow up action in matters concerning national security.
The SPG includes the Chiefs of the Armed Forces, Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing. Its main task is to make policy recommendations to the National Security Council. The NSAB consists of senior retired officials, academics and distinguished members of civil society having expertise in internal and external security, foreign affairs, defence, science and technology and economic affairs.