Saturday, May 12, 2001,  Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Decision on CDS deferred
Intelligence coordination group to be set up

New Delhi, May 11
In a far-reaching move to revamp the national security apparatus, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) tonight decided to integrate three headquarters of the armed forces and set up an intelligence coordination group but left the idea of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for consultations with the opposition and NDA partners.

“Service headquarters will be integrated headquarters of the Ministry of Defence rather than attached offices,” Home Minister L.K. Advani told reporters after a two-hour meeting of the CCS which accepted all 24 recommendations of the group of ministers (GoM) on national security.

The CCS, chaired by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, also decided to establish an intelligence coordination group (ICG) for coordination among all intelligence agencies. It would be presided over by the National Security Advisor.

A defence intelligence agency (DIA) will be established to promote greater integration of intelligence collected by the intelligence directorates of the three services, Mr Advani said, adding that the DIA chief would act as the Principle Military Intelligence Advisor to the Defence Minister, proposed CDS and to the Defence Secretary.

The decision on the appointment of the CDS was postponed and would be decided by the CCS after discussions with opposition parties and NDA constituents, Mr Advani said.

Mr Advani said integration of the service headquarters would lead to “progressive decentralisation of decision-making and delegation of powers to service headquarters.”

Mr Advani said the process of consultations with political parties on the CDS issue would start after the Prime Minister’s return from Malyasia and a decision was expected to be taken before the beginning of Parliament’s monsoon session in July.

The CDS is supposed to be the “single-point reference” for the government in the nuclear command and control system. The post has been deemed necessary in the light of the nuclear weaponisation, set in motion by the Pokhran-II tests.

The task force on higher defence management, set up in the wake of the Kargil war of 1999, had recommended that the national strategic forces should be commanded by a CDS as a tri-service representative of the defence services. PTI, UNI

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