M A I N   N E W S

M.K. Narayanan assigned duties of National Security Adviser
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 4
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked his Special Adviser, Mr M K Narayanan, to look after the work of National Security Adviser “until further orders”.

Mr Narayanan told The Tribune tonight that he had been asked by the Prime Minister to hold additional charge till the regular appointment was made.

The Cabinet Committee on Security also met tonight under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. Mr Narayanan, when asked whether the CCS discussed the issue of regular appointment of NSA, Mr Narayanan replied in the negative and said: “No, it was regarding something else.”

Mr Narayanan, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, will look after his new assignment in addition to his existing post and orders to this effect were issued today by the Prime Minister.

However, sources said it was not yet certain whether Mr Narayanan would be a stop-gap arrangement or whether he would prove to be second-time lucky.

It may be recalled that when the UPA Government had assumed office in May last, Mr Narayanan’s name was very much in contention but former Foreign Secretary J N Dixit was chosen for the post of NSA. The post has fallen vacant since Dixit’s death yesterday.

Sources said the field was still wide open for the NSA’s post.

Mr Ronen Sen, who recently went to Washington as India’s Ambassador to the United States, may still get a look-in for the hot seat of NSA. Mr Sen, a career diplomat, has already worked in the PMO during the Prime Ministership of Mr Rajiv Gandhi. He is perceived to be close to 10, Janpath.

Mr Sen has been India’s Ambassador in such crucial countries as Russia, Germany and the UK.

There is a view in a section of the government that the post of NSA should necessarily be filled by a diplomat in view of the intrinsic job requirements. This is particularly because of the ongoing Special Representatives-level talks with China on the boundary dispute and the Indo-Pakistan Composite Dialogue which has already entered the next phase.

Besides, the NSA also has to steer India’s strategic ties with the USA, the UK and the European Union.

However, according to another view in a section of the government, Mr Narayanan is well versed with Pakistan and China and an expert on China and international communism.

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