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MoD think tank renamed unilaterally by government, say its EC members

The institute was renamed after Manohar Parrikar  

Due process was not followed while changing the name of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), leading members of the premier think tank have told the government during a high-level meeting held on May 8.

The Hindu has learnt that several members of the Executive Council (EC) of the renamed Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) told Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that they should have been consulted before the institute was renamed.

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The 165th edition of the Executive Council of MP-IDSA met on May 8 in a meeting chaired by Mr Singh. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, a few members participated through video conference. However, during the meeting, which was attended by Director General of MP-IDSA Sujan Chinoy, some members of the Executive Council said that MP-IDSA is a registered society and changing the name of the Institute should have been effected only after taking the EC into confidence. One member said that as a procedure, any change in nomenclature of the Institute calls for a proposal to be cleared by the General Body.

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“The Minister took note of our dissatisfaction on this issue. We were quite clear that changing the name of the premier think tank in this manner showed disrespect for processes that should have been followed meticulously as IDSA was conceived as a society and government can not just change its identity,” said a member of the Executive Council. The member said such decision-making affects the established identity of the Institute and casts a shadow on its autonomy.

Those who attended the meeting of the EC told The Hindu that they respect the contribution of the late Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to the country’s security but maintained that attaching Mr. Parrikar’s name to IDSA politicises a defence-related institute and sets a precedent that they do not approve of.

“It’s not about the individual but the whole renaming itself. Defence institutions should not be named after politicians,” said one of the Members of the Executive Council on condition of anonymity. IDSA, which was set up in 1965, evolved to become the most famous think tank of the strategic affairs community in India over the years. In February, the government renamed the institute after the late Defence Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar. It is learnt that key officials of the Institute were not present in Delhi on the day the decision was taken.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 12:19:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mod-think-tank-renamed-unilaterally-by-government-say-its-ec-members/article31568745.ece

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