JN Dixit Is NSA

New Delhi, May 26 | Updated: May 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
Former foreign secretary JN Dixit will replace Brajesh Mishra as the national security advisor (NSA). Mr Dixit is expected to take over from Mr Mishra shortly. He was instrumental in formulating the Congress agenda on defence, security and foreign policy before the general election.

To many defence observers, Mr Dixits appointment has come as welcome change especially since his predecessor was charged with running the National Security Council in an autocratic fashion. National Security Council (NSC) was never convened. It was only a nameboard for Mr Mishra to function as NSA. There is no doubt Mr Mishra did a tremendous job but he did not run NSC as an institution, said K Subrahmanyam, defence expert.

Mr Dixit has been the vice-chairman of the foreign affairs department of the All India Congress Committee. Mr Subrahmanyam feels that it is the functioning of NSC that he will need to address at the earliest.

G Parthasarthy, former colleague of Mr Dixit, feels decision-making on nuclear security will have to be fine-tuned.

He will have the important task of looking at the points in the Subrahmanyam Committee report pertaining to the integration of the armed forces with the defence ministry, which then have to be implemented, Mr Parthasarthy said.

He said that there has to be a much better degree of co-ordination in dealing with externally-sponsored terrorism whether from Bangladesh or Pakistan. Finally, with the present day economic integration becoming increasingly a part of regional co-operation we will have to purposefully implement Free Trade Agreements with ASEAN, SAARC and possibly with China, he suggested.

Mr Dixits appointment is very appropriate since he is the most experienced man with great understanding of security issues, said Admiral (retd) KK Nayyar. Since the Congress in its manifesto promised to improve the existing NSC, Mr Dixit will have to concentrate on running it as an institution, and then look into its working for last six years, Mr Subrahmanyam said.

According to him, there has to be long-term security planning: nuclear security, conventional security, terrorism, modernisation of armed forces, relations with neighbours, relations with China, US and the whole idea of how to transform India into a developed country by 2020, and also to make the country a manufacturing hub.

Mr Dixit will have to involve all ministries as he cannot work singularly on these issues. This is a constant and collective responsibility of NSC and Mr Dixits task is well cut-out, Mr Subrahmanyam said.