National Security Council

The National Security Council (NSC) in India is the executive agency responsible for advising the Prime Minister’s Office on issues of national security and strategic interest. The National Security Council is an important body in India with a powerful responsibility. This topic is important for the IAS exam and is covered in the UPSC Syllabus in the Internal Security segment.

The NSC was established in 1998 by the government of AB Vajpayee. Brajesh Mishra served as the country’s first National Security Advisor (NSA). Before the NSC was formed, these functions were carried out by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The NSC is the apex agency in the country handling internal and external security, conventional and non-conventional defence, military affairs, counter-insurgency, space and high technology, economy, counter-terrorism and environment.

The NSC is headed by the Prime Minister and the NSA is its Secretary. The headquarters of NSC is in New Delhi and the current NSA is Ajit Doval.

National Security Council

National Security Council Members

Apart from the NSA, the other members are:

  1. Deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA)
  2. Minister of Defence
  3. Minister of External Affairs
  4. Minister of Home Affairs
  5. Minister of Finance
  6. Deputy Chairman of the NITI Aayog

Other members can be invited to attend its monthly meetings as and when required.

The NSA is a powerful office and it is to him/her that various intelligence agencies such as RAW, IB, etc. report to rather than directly to the Prime Minister.

National Security Council Organisational Structure

India’s national security management structure is a three-tiered structure. The three tiers are comprised of:

  1. Strategic Policy Group
  2. National Security Advisory Board
  3. Secretariat represented by the Joint Intelligence Committee

Strategic Policy Group

  • It is the first tier in the three-tier system of the NSC.
  • It is the core decision-making apparatus of the NSC.
  • The Chairman of the SPG now is the NSA. Earlier, it was the Cabinet Secretary.
  • The SPG will assist the NSC, and also perform long-term strategic review of the security affairs of the country.
  • It is the chief mechanism for coordination among the different ministries and for the integration of inputs for the formulation of security policies.
  • SPG meetings will be convened by the NSA and the implementation of the decisions of the SPG by the Ministries and Departments, and the State governments, will be coordinated by the Cabinet Secretary.

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