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Security briefings on PM agenda

New Delhi, June 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take monthly briefings from each of the three military chiefs turning on its head the UPA’s policy of keeping the armed forces away from the centre of decision-making on security policy.

For successive years military veterans have complained that the top brass was not adequately consulted by the government despite the inputs they could give in assessing security situations.

Earlier this month, Modi was given a two-hour briefing by the army chief, General Bikram Singh and his aides in the Directorate General of Military Operations, or “war room”. Briefings by the chiefs of the navy and the air force are likely shortly. Modi made his first business trip outside the capital to the navy’s aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, off the Goa coast on June 14.

The direct connect with military chiefs that Modi is seeking to institutionalise is also making the army, the navy and the air force focus more deeply on their priorities. All three forces have presented their list of priorities for acquisition of military hardware to Arun Jaitley, the finance minister who has described his defence ministership as an “additional charge”.

Jaitley had said on the day he took over that there would be a full-fledged defence minister within a few weeks.