NEW DELHI - Indian government on Wednesday formed a new integrated institutional mechanism, called the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
The committee, which will be a permanent body, will prepare a draft national security strategy besides undertaking a strategic defence review and formulating an international defence engagement strategy.
Sources told The Indian Express that the idea to create an institutional mechanism which could undertake comprehensive and integrated planning of higher defence matters had been on the table for some time but was not gaining traction.
The idea got a push in recent months, particularly after the last budget, with the three service chiefs and defence ministry officials working together to get it implemented.
Given the complex security environment and the volume of expenditure on national defence, sources said that it was imperative to have a strong defence planning mechanism. The present system was found insufficient to provide the rigour necessary for the planning process, which led to creation of this new institutional mechanism.
As per the government order issued on Wednesday, DPC will consist of the Chairman Chiefs of the Staff Committee (COSC), service chiefs, Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Secretary (expenditure) in the Finance Ministry.
The committee will operate through four sub-committees: on Policy and Strategy, Plans and Capability Development, Defence Diplomacy, and Defence Manufacturing Ecosystem. The membership and the terms of reference of the sub-committees will be finalized separately.
By bringing the Foreign Secretary and Expenditure Secretary into the formal planning process of the Defence Ministry, the government has attempted to overcome the problems of coordination between various ministries on matters of national security.
It has often been alleged that the defence planning process and the requirements of the armed forces have been cut off from the diplomatic priorities and financial capacity of the government.