Friday, August 3, 2012

Task Force to recommend permanent head, Chiefs of Staff Committee
The Report of the Task Force on National Security, headed by former cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra is the result of the first-ever focused exercise since the Kargil Review Committee, headed by the late K Subrahmanyam, of 10 years ago. After that no such holistic review of all aspects of national security was taken up.
Naresh Chandra's report is a significant intellectual work undertaken by the UPA government, and will leave behind how it views national security in the post - NDA. The Naresh Chandra committee had intelligence experts like PC Haldar, former chief of IB, KC Verma, former chief of R&AW, and former NIA chief Radha Vinod Raju. It also had former defence officers like Adm Arun Prakash, Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, and former DGMO Lt Gen VR Raghavan, apart from bureaucrats like Brajeshwar Singh and Vinod K Duggal. Suman K Berry, director, National Council of Applied Economic Research, senior journalist Manoj Joshi, former Mumbai police commissioner D Sivanandan, former diplomat G Parthasarathy, former chief of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar were also part of the Task Force. B Raman, strategic expert and former intelligence officer with R&AW, was advisor to Naresh Chandra.
The Task Force report will be judged on the basis of its recommendations in the area of better management of defence forces and security set-up. It must bring in new ideas to improve the intelligence set-up and show ways to improve the national security apparatus dealing with internal issues. Naresh Chandra's Task Force had a few sub-committees that dealt with internal security, defence-related and intelligence-related issues.  
As per Rahul bedi, India's well-known expert on defence-related issues, "Drastic changes need to be made to resolve the many fault-lines plaguing the military. But the Task Force recommendations need to be implemented swiftly and sincerely for these problems to be resolved."  Bedi added, "What is urgently required is the equivalent of the Chief of Defence Staff or permanent chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee. It is likely to be recommended by the Task Force to the government."  The issue is highly sensitive and the chiefs of Navy and Air Force are against any such move. Bedi further said, "It is expected that the Task Force will introduce the provision of theatre command for greater efficiency, better financial economy and technical joint-ness of all three forces."
There are also apprehensions about the Task Force's suggestions not being accepted or not being implemented. Soon after the Kargil conflict of 1999, the then government had set up the Kargil Review Committee whose recommendations were reviewed by the GoM in 2000-01. With the help of four task forces, this GoM made 350 recommendations, several of which were accepted by the government and implemented, but over the years the speed of implementation of reforms has died down.
The DIA and NTRO were created after a comprehensive review of national security then.  The most significant issue will be to see if the government is serious in responding to the suggestions made by the Task Force, like creating the post of a permanent chairman, chiefs of staff committee, or creating an entry point for uniformed officers at higher levels in the ministry of defence, and sending civilian officers to the defence forces headquarters.
Panel recommends military preparedness to deal with 'assertive’ China
Josy JosephJosy Joseph,TNN , 25 Jul, 2012
NEW DELHI: India has to be prepared militarily to deal with an "assertive" China even as it seeks to build bridges of cooperation with Beijing, the Naresh Chandra Task Force on national security has recommended.

The committee's suggestions for the military — details of which have been accessed by TOI — also buries the proposal for a CDS, the single point military adviser to the government. Instead, it has recommended that a permanent Chairman Chiefs Of Staff Committee be appointed from among the three service chiefs, allowing India to have four four-star generals.

The panel has given a set of recommendations for reforming the national security architecture, covering both intelligence and military apparatus, as part of its mandate to review it.

It has recommended a re-look at the process of blacklisting truant defence firms, separating the post of DRDO chief and SA to the RM, appointing military officers up to the rank of joint secretary in the MoD, creating new Special Forces Command etc. The recommendations of the panel are being studied by individual services and agencies that would be affected by the changes. Their responses are expected to be with the government over the next few weeks.

While conceding that there has been improvement in Sino-Indian relations in recent years, the report has conceded that it is "still clouded in mistrust". The committee, headed by the former cabinet secretary, says, "There is concern about China's policy of "containment" of India, marked by growing Chinese interest in countries of South Asia. China will continue to utilize Pakistan as part of its grand strategy for containing India in a "South Asian box". "China's growing assertiveness on the border and in its territorial claims on Arunachal Pradesh has intensified misgivings," the committee says. "The crucial concern is whether China will become militarily more assertive and nationalistic as its economic and military power grows, or whether it will abide by the policies advocated by Deng Xiao Ping," the report says. More importantly, across Asia there is concern that as Beijing grows "the US will become more circumspect and accommodating in dealing with China," the panel says. The committee has recommended that the government take an immediate decision on the existing recommendation that the Army be given management of Sino-Indian borders, and retain operational control over forces deployed in the areas.

On Pakistan, the committee suggests that it "remains both unable and unwilling to set its house in order, or put in place economic policies that can increase or sustain growth". And there is "nothing to suggest that the Pakistani military has given up the use of radical Islamic groups to promote terrorism in both India and Afghanistan." But its biggest concern is Pakistan's ambition to use Afghanistan for strategic depth. The panel has recommended that India "should spare no effort, politically, diplomatically, economically and through military assistance to ensure that Pakistani efforts to convert Afghanistan into an extremist run, pliant and client state are frustrated".

Calling for better coordination between the MoD and MEA, the panel recommends that the MoD set up a bureau of politico-military affairs. "The primary role of this Bureau would be liaison with the MEA on issues and actions having foreign policy applications," the committee says. It has recommended that MEA affairs also consider accepting officials from civil services and armed forces on short duration (five years) deputations.

Set up agency to steer defence R&D, recommends Task Force on national security

NEW DELHI: The Naresh Chandra Task Force on national security has recommended that the chief of the DRDO should not be the SA to the RM. In a statement of its no-confidence in DRDO, the panel has suggested the setting up of a new agency for steering futuristic military research.

The committee has recommended the setting up of an Advanced Projects Agency (APA) to undertake high-risk futuristic military research. The APA must be chaired by the SA to RM, it says. "This institution's aim will be akin, though not necessarily identical to China's 863 programme, or the work of DARPA in the US," the report says.

The APA will "identify, fund and guide cutting edge projects relating to the country's futuristic security requirements. The SA must be assisted by UGC chairman, DG of CSIR, director of BARC and the heads of TIFR and IISc, Bangalore. According to the committee, APA would fund research in institutions like IITs, universities and private laboratories. "The APA will not be involved with DRDO, though it will encourage collaboration between the organisation and the sectors it funds," it says.

On separating the post of DRDO chief and SA to RM, the report says, "The task force recommends that two independent officers should hold the appointments. One as DG, DRDO and secretary, Defence R&D and the other as SA to RM."

"The SA to RM should focus on futuristic requirements of India's defence and strategic needs, while the DG DRDO must assume responsibility for managing the DRDO's laboratories and research centres and ensuring the on-time delivery of projects undertaken there," it adds. The panel has decried the failure of the defence technology and industrial base to deliver "badly-needed capabilities to the armed forces".

It has also recommended the setting up of a sub-group on defence technology, comprising representatives of DRDO, military, private sector, academia, military and other stakeholders. The group will make programme to reach targets in developing indigenous design and development capability, besides auditing the performance of DRDO and DPSUs for their performance and accountability.

Panel concerned at defence readiness

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 | Gautam Datt, Mail Today
New Delhi: The fighting capabilities of the armed forces continue to remain a serious cause of concern as the task force appointed by the government on national security has claimed it was given "disturbing details of operational shortcomings".

The Naresh Chandra panel, in its report to the government recently, has noted that at the moment no system exists through which the political leadership is given a comprehensive exposure on joint forces operational capabilities, sources said.

The panel carried out the second scrutiny of the security structure after the Kargil War, the first being the Kargil Review Committee of 2001 whose recommendations itself have only been partially implemented.
In its recommendations, the Naresh Chadra panel wants a defence operational status report to be prepared annually. Sources said the panel has advocated that the cabinet panel on security should be informed on the preparedness on the basis of the operational status report. This report should be prepared by chairman chiefs of staff committee, the sources added. The aim of such a move is to ensure that the defence minister is aware of the exact picture of battle preparedness of the armed forces.

The panel also suggested streamlining of the Special Forces. It has recommended a separate command structure under the chairman chiefs of staff committee. It envisages a wide range of role for special forces including dealing with foreign backed proxy wars and combat search and rescue operation or handling hostage crisis. The panel stressed on integrated Special Forces of the three forces which are working independently at the moment.

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