The Modi government is demonstrating an unusual, though welcome, urgency in pursuing a revamp of the national security apparatus. Under the chairmanship of the National Security Adviser, the Strategic Policy Group (SPG) has been revived to assist the National Security Council in moving forward with a long-term strategic defence review. The SPG, whose 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, will now be the central instrumentality for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of inputs in forming national security policies.
It was set up by the AB Vajpayee government in 1999 but was earlier headed by the Cabinet Secretary. Now the power shifts to the NSA, making an already powerful office even more potent. The NSA is now joined by three deputies at the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) with responsibilities spanning across three distinct domains. RN Ravi, a former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, was recently appointed the third deputy national security adviser, joining former RAW chief Rajinder Khanna and former ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran at the NSCS. Read more