After declassifying 70,000 files, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is planning to make public another 2.2 lakh files, its Special Secretary Pinak Chakravarty said on Wednesday. “In future, these files will be put online,” he said at a seminar organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.
The second set of files would cover the neighbours minus China, Iran, East Asia, Eurasia and the Americas. Of the files declassified so far, 12,388 were over to the National Archives. These files include about 3,000 on the Americas, about 1,000 on Eurasia, over 1,700 relating to United Nations, 702 on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, besides more than 5,100 files on Policy, Planning and Research.
But these files do not make for quick viewing. The MEA had indexed these files, based on subject matter and the classification scheme was now online. There was a searchable index available on its website, but after choosing the file, the person should approach the National Archives for viewing it physically for which there was a detailed procedure.
“This is the first time in many years that we have taken the initiative to declassify such a large number of files from the MEA archives. We hope that this will lead to renewed academic interest and greater understanding of the evolution of Indian foreign policy,” said Mr. Chakravarty.
Pointing out that India had walked the difficult line between principle and pragmatism by calling for a nuclear weapons-free world while maintaining its nuclear options, he hoped research into the declassified files would show that “we are on the right side of history” by choosing to walk that “unique path.”