MAKING OUT a strong case for an overhaul of the internal security apparatus, J&K Governor N N Vohra said Sunday that the country has not been able to develop a pan-Indian approach for national security and that central governments have not been able to convince states that they hold equal responsibility on this issue.
Delivering the 12th R N Kao memorial lecture at the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) headquarters, Vohra’s suggestions included a new national security policy, a new anti-terror law, a specialised national security administrative cadre and the creation of a new ministry for national security.
“It (national security) is a crying concern and as a country, we are not conscious of security concerns,” he said.
Listing the complex security issues confronting the country, Vohra said, “It is erroneous to think that external and internal threats are different… States use the specious argument that they do not have funds for matters of internal security.”
The J&K Governor was critical of central paramilitary forces and Army being rushed in frequently for “dousing fires”. Excessive use of the Army in different parts of the country was “blunting” its edge since the rules of engagement for handling internal conflagrations needed “restraint”, he said.
However, Vohra did not make any direct reference to the situation in J&K during his critique of the handling of internal security issues between the Centre and states.
During his lecture, attended by the top brass of intelligence agencies, Vohra listed a three-pronged approach for refurbishing the internal security mechanism.
First, he said, there was an urgent need for promulgating a “well-considered and holistic” National Security Policy, which should be implemented with a time-bound action plan. “There are new threats before us….our response should not be ad hoc and disparate,” he said.
Vohra said that a “bi-partisan” policy should be promulgated in consultation with chief ministers using the platform of the Inter State Council and existing provisions of the Constitution.
Two, the Governor said that given the specialised nature of security challenges, there was a need for refurbishing the internal security administrative apparatus. He said the Centre should consider setting up a National Security Administrative Service with deployment also made in states.
Finally, he argued there was a need for enactment of a new anti-terror law, which would have a more “enlarged” role than the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) which, he said, had been “set up in a hurry” in 2009. He also listed the “disparate” subjects and departments being clubbed under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and said that presently, there was need of setting up an exclusive ministry to handle issues of National Security at every front.
Speaking about the challenges confronting the country’s top sleuths, Vohra also made out a case for having an oversight mechanism to monitor the functioning of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and RAW. While the J&K Governor suggested the British model be examined for adopting such a mechanism, former RAW chief Sanjeev Tripathi said during an interactive session that the US model might be more effective.
Asked about the 2012 Naresh Chandra Committee report, which had suggested similar proposals, former RAW chief K C Verma stood up to say that he “felt cheated” that the recommendations never saw the light of day.