Following K Subrahmanyam’s advice

P Chidambaram must now walk the talk, and execute K Subrahmanyam’s vision of creating a ministry of internal security.

Although the complete text of 22nd Intelligence Bureau Centenary Endowment Lecture on A New Architecture of India’s Security by P Chidambaram should be mandatory reading for all students of internal (and national) security, here is an extract from the lecture — the portion dealing with the restructuring of the Union Home Ministry.

That leaves the question of the structure of the Ministry of Home Affairs itself.  MHA now handles a wide portfolio of subjects ranging from ‘freedom fighters’ to ‘forensic science’.  Is this a functional arrangement to deal with the grave challenges to internal security that we face and that we will face from many more years?  I am afraid not.  It is true that the words ‘Ministry of Home Affairs’ have an authoritative ring, but the MHA now performs a number of functions that have no direct relation to internal security.  For example, it has a division dealing with freedom fighters but it does not have even a desk for dealing exclusively with forensic science.  There are other divisions or desks that deal with Centre-State Relations, State Legislation, Human Rights, Union Territories, Disaster Management, Census etc.  These are undoubtedly important functions and deserve close attention.  However, internal security is an equally, if not more, important function that deserves the highest attention.  In my view, given the imperatives and the challenges of the times, a division of the current functions of the Ministry of Home Affairs is unavoidable.  Subjects not directly related to internal security should be dealt with by a separate Ministry or should be brought under a separate Department in the MHA and dealt with by a Minister, more or less independently, without referring every issue to the Home Minister.  The Home Minister should devote the whole of his/her time and energy to matters relating to security.[PIB]

This is in keeping with the prescription suggested by the doyen of Indian strategic experts, K Subrahmanyam — a one-man defence university, in the words of BG Verghese — in January this year.

What’s paramount is the setting up of a ministry — under the charge of a Cabinet Minister — that is dedicated to internal security. Internal security should not be part of the Home Ministry’s responsibilities. Just as we have a ministry for external security, which is the Ministry of Defence, India needs a Ministry for Internal Security. …In my view, it would be good to have a wholly dedicated Ministry for Internal Security. …What I suggest is that a Cabinet Minister must devote full attention to internal security. Something analogous to the US Department of Homeland Security.[BS]

Any government or minister that listens to K Subrahmanyam couldn’t be doing much wrong. Only if the government would now implement the plan with steadfast purpose, firm determination and unwavering commitment.



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4 Responses to Following K Subrahmanyam’s advice

  1. NotReallyAnonymous December 24, 2009 at 3:20 am #

    It is not just internal security thats needs to be branched out, I see a lot of potential for devolving some of the other MHA tasks to local governments.

  2. ji December 24, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    Does anyone in the military – Sepoy to S/ General read what KS or say Khushwant Singh has to say about the state of ‘ affairs’


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