Vimarsh: Lecture by Ambassador PS Raghavan, Chairman NSAB on “New templates for India's National Security Management”, at the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), 13 Jun 2019
Welcome Remarks by Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director VIF

Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to today’s Vimarsh talk by Ambassador PS Raghavan on “New templates for India's National Security Management." I extend a warm welcome to Ambassador Raghavan for having agreed to engage with the public on the Vimarsh platform. It has been our pleasure to bring top officials and experts to the VIF to discuss issues of national interest, including national security. Today, Ambassador Raghavan will talk about the complexity of national security management and new developments in this area.

Ambassador Raghavan is Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), which advises India’s National Security Council on security and strategic issues of immediate and long-term relevance. He is a veteran diplomat. In his diplomatic career (1979-2016), he was Ambassador of India to Russia, Czech Republic, and Ireland and had other diplomatic positions in USSR, UK, Poland, South Africa, and Vietnam. As Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office (2000-2004), he dealt with critical issues of foreign affairs, nuclear energy, space, defence, and national security. As Secretary (2013-14) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), he handled India’s external economic relations and oversaw Administration, Security, and e-governance in MEA. He also headed the Development Partnership Administration, which coordinates India’s economic partnership with developing countries. As Chairman NSAB, he engages with government departments in India and with think tanks in India and abroad on India’s strategic perspectives. He also writes and lectures on these issues.
On a personal note, I may add that our friendship and association goes back 40 years when both of us joined the Indian Foreign Service in the same year. Since then, we have worked together on a range of subjects and issues. Therefore, it is a particular pleasure for me to personally welcome him to the VIF.

Friends, this is the first Vimarsh lecture after the swearing in of the new government. Prime Minister Modi has returned with a massive mandate. He has committed himself to build a “New India.” Many of the policies of his previous tenure will no doubt be continued, but you can be sure that many new ideas will be tried and implemented. What is important is that New India will need to be built on the foundation of a secure India.

Conceptualization of national security challenges is a vital part of national security management. The National Security Council, set up in 1999 in the present form, has been tasked to look at national security in a holistic manner and identify incipient and emerging threats well in advance. Over the years, National Security Advisory Board, an indispensable part of the National Security Council structure, has done considerable thinking on India’s national security challenges. Not much is known in the public domain about its role in shaping the government is thinking on national security. Many of you in the audience would know that India’s nuclear doctrine is based on a draft doctrine that was prepared by the NSAB in 1999-2000.

Not everything about national security should be treated as a state secret. The government needs solid public support to pursue national security initiatives. In many countries, the government brings out public documents on their national security strategy, defence strategy, space, and cyber doctrine, and so on. In India, even after 20 years of National Security Council, the government has avoided publishing a national security strategy. There must be reasons for the government to do so.

Ambassador Raghavan is the right person to tell us about the intricacies of national security management and the emerging trends in this area. I invite Ambassador Raghavan to share his views with us.

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