Naresh Chandra Committee, a 14-member task force on national security, submitted its report to the government on 8 August 2012. The committee was set up by the Union government on 21 June 2012 to suggest ways to revamp of defence management in the country.
The main objective behind the constitution of the committee was to contemporarise the Kargil Review Committee’s recommendations, which was tabled in the Parliament on 23 February 2000. Besides, the task force was also asked to examine the state of country’s border management and restructuring system.
Naresh Chandra’s report is a significant intellectual work undertaken by the United Progressive Alliance government, and will leave behind how it views national security in the post-National Democratic Alliance era.
The Naresh Chandra committee had intelligence experts like PC Haldar, former chief of Intelligence Bureau, KC Verma, former chief of Research and Analysis Wing, and former National Investigation Agency chief Radha Vinod Raju.
It also had former defence officers like Admiral Arun Prakash, Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, and former Director General of Military Operations 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.
Rahul bedi, India’s well-known expert on defence-related issues, told “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.”
“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.
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.”
Soon after the Kargil conflict of 1999, the then government had set up the Kargil Review Committee whose recommendations were reviewed by the Group of Ministers 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 Defence Intelligence Agency and National Technical Research Organisation 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.
Kargil Review Committee
The Kargil Review Committee (KRC), headed by the late K. Subrahmanyam, had submitted its report a decade back. The recommendations made by the committee had paved the way for the setting up of a Group of Ministers which had suggested massive reforms in the country’s security management system. The KRC is considered to be the first major attempt at revamping the country’s security after Independence.