M A I N   N E W S

Dixit is National Security Adviser
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26
The Congress-led coalition government today formally accepted an important legacy of its predecessor NDA government in security matters when it appointed former Foreign Secretary J N Dixit as National Security Adviser, a post created by the Vajpayee government.

National Security Adviser (NSA) is a Minister of State-rank post which was held by Mr Brajesh Mishra in the Vajpayee Government since 1998 — the first time in the history of independent India when the post was created.

“Mr Dixit has been appointed National Security Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office for a period of three years or till further orders, whichever is earlier,” an official notification said.

Well placed sources told The Tribune today that Mr Dixit had a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this morning and was told by the PM about his new assignment. Mr Dixit will formally take over tomorrow morning only, sources said. He will sit in South Block.

It is understood that one of the first foreign visits of the NSA would be to the United States where he would meet US National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and other leaders and officials.

With the appointment of the NSA, the Prime Minister will soon convene a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the apex policy-making body in matters of national security.

Among a host of important decisions the new government’s first CCS will have to take will be the appointment of the Indian interlocutor for the next round of Special Representatives-level talks with China which are due in the first week of June. The fittest person for the job is Mr Dixit himself, if the CCS decides to continue with the mechanism of Special Representatives-level talks, that is.

Though the Manmohan Singh government has followed the Vajpayee government’s policy on keeping the post of NSA, it has drastically differed from the Vajpayee government as it has segregated the two posts of NSA and Principal Secretary to PM.

Mr Dixit joined the Congress party more than a year ago when the party was down in the dumps and political pundits did not hope of its early revival. He was appointed deputy to Mr K Natwar Singh (the present External Affairs Minister) who was the Chairman of the party’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr Dixit played a crucial role in formulating the party’s agenda on defence, security and foreign policy matters before elections to the 14th Lok Sabha.

A career diplomat, Mr Dixit joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1958. He has held several key positions in the Foreign Service, including India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Ambassador to Afghanistan. He was India’s first High Commissioner to Bangladesh soon after its liberation from Pakistan in 1971.

Mr Dixit had a stint as official spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, a high-profile post which serves as the Government of India’s show window to the world.

In his 36-year-long diplomatic career, Mr Dixit also served as Deputy Chief of the Mission in Tokyo and Washington as well as different diplomatic capacities in Mexico, Chile, Tokyo and Vienna. He was appointed Foreign Secretary in 1991 and three years later he retired.


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