The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dixit takes security cake

New Delhi, June 5: Designation wise, J.N. Dixit is simply the national security adviser to the government. But work wise, he is the security “superboss”, empowered to lord over security agencies and play a supervisory role on behalf of the Prime Minister.

The former foreign secretary was on Thursday formally empowered to oversee the functioning of the three security agencies — the Research and Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau and the Defence Intelligence Agency — for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Cabinet secretary Kamal Pande issued the orders.

The directive leaves Singh’s principal secretary T.K.A. Nair free to concentrate on non-security issues. By implication, it makes Dixit the Prime Minister’s principal secretary on security matters, if there could be such a post.

“Dixit will practically become the superboss of all security agencies by carrying out a supervisory role on behalf of the PM and dealing with the nuts and bolts of the security situation on a daily basis,” a source said.

Dixit’s new powers could change the profile of the National Security Council Secretariat — the secretariat of the national security adviser — which, for all practical purposes, had been reduced to a clearing house for reports forwarded by intelligence agencies, so far under the principal secretary.

It means Dixit would from now on have to sift through real-time intelligence reports provided by the agencies on internal and external security matters.

There are suggestions that the move could also reduce the grip of the bureaucracy on the intelligence agencies. Some say the agencies could become feeder outfits for the National Security Council Secretariat that will play a more active role.

Officials said Brajesh Mishra had a similar job profile in the Vajpayee government. But then, he was wearing the hats of both national security adviser and principal secretary to the Prime Minister.

As national security adviser, Dixit will be the key person in the United Progressive Alliance government for security dialogue with nuclear nations. External affairs minister Natwar Singh has already named him Delhi’s representative for border talks with China.

Although Dixit has been given the lion’s share of the security pie, an expert in the Prime Minister’s Office — special adviser M.K. Narayanan — has been given the job of bettering the performance of the intelligence agencies.

A former Intelligence Bureau director, Narayanan has been dubbed a “visionary”, who has spent more years in the organisation analysing data rather than collecting them. He co-authored the G.C. Saxena report on reforming the Indian intelligence apparatus a few years ago.

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