National security advisory board’s aim is to spread ‘security understanding’

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National security advisory board's aim is to spread 'security understanding'India’s National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) under the Prime Minister’s Office met on January 10 for the first time following its expansion to set an ambitious agenda that apart from rendering advice to the PM and NSA on variety of subjects decided to spread wider public understanding of India’s national security challenges.

The NSAB that was reconstituted under the BJP-led NDA government with five members led by former Indian Ambassador to Russia P S Raghavan was recently expanded to include five more members. The first meet of the expanded NSAB was held here on January 10 with NSA in attendance and set out an ambitious agenda with a focus on wider public engagement on critical issues not only in the national capital but across the country.

“It was decided that NSAB members should try to spread wider public understanding of India’s national security challenges, perspectives and policies. This would in turn contribute to better policy making by taking into account suggestions from various stakeholders,” Chairman NSAB Raghavan told ET.

This should include seminars/lectures in prominent institutions and other initiatives by NSAB members, explained Raghavan, adding the objective is to spread the message and take the debate various parts of the country and not just keep it confined to Delhi. It was decided that NSAB will have regular contact with think tanks, research institutions and academia and try to be a bridge between them and the national security establishment.

“The NSAB could act as a receptacle of public, think-thank, interest group views on national security policies, to convey it to concerned government agencies,” Raghavan further explained. Challenges before India has increased since Kargil Review Committee recommendations with newer challenges emerging including in field of cyberspace and NSAB through various consultations hopes to prepare effective solutions.

NSAB will continue in its traditional role and be engaged on national security related issues on which its advice is sought by National Security Council, National Security Council Secretariat or any of the other government departments or agencies connected with national security. “The smaller (5 member) Board was doing this; the expansion adds a wider spectrum of domain expertise to NSAB,” Raghavan pointed out.

It is also understood that NSAB will consider all 300 plus reports on variety of subjects that has been produced so far since inception of the Board almost two decades back.