The advisors can advise, but the leaders must lead
Dr Manmohan Singh has appointed M K Narayanan, a former chief of the Intelligence Bureau (India’s domestic intelligence agency) as a special advisor for internal security. With J N Dixit given the formal job of National Security Advisor, it appears that the new government has put professionals in charge of the security apparatus.
While this is a positive development these gentlemen will remain uber-bureaucrats: the political leadership must act as stewards of national security. It remains to be seen if the new government has the political stomach for the tough national security challenges. The signs so far have not been promising – the coalition’s common minimum programme is committed to repealing tough anti-terrorism laws and some are already demanding that the ban on Tamil Tigers be lifted. Worse, when the Hizbul Mujahideen killed over 30 BSF personnel and family members, the government’s response was read out by a low-level press officer.