NATIONAL

Advani meets security experts

BJP president Rajnath Singh along with L.K. Advani, during their meeting on national security with former defence and police officials, in New Delhi on Saturday.

BJP president Rajnath Singh along with L.K. Advani, during their meeting on national security with former defence and police officials, in New Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: V. Sudershan

Neena Vyas

Slow procurement of weapons a concern, says Arun Jaitley

NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani on Saturday met security experts here to formulate the policy of a future BJP-led government.

Party president Rajnath Singh, general secretary Arun Jaitley and the former Union Minister, Arun Shourie, were present. Among the experts were retired armed services officers including Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis, Admiral Arun Prakash and Lt. Generals R.K. Sawhney and N.S. Malik. The former Intelligence Bureau Directors, Ajit Doval and K.P. Singh; the former Defence Secretary, Yogendra Narain; the former Home Secretary, Anil Baijal; and the former Director-General of Police, Punjab, K.P.S. Gill, were part of the team. A few journalists were also present.

Briefing journalists, Mr. Jaitley said one area of concern was the slow procurement of weapons. A speedier procedure needed to be put in place. In a crisis situation, decisions should be taken immediately, before a management committee met.

Coordination among different intelligence agencies and the need for one command structure were another area of concern.

Criticising the handling of the situation post-Mumbai terror strike, the participants pointed out that there was a “lack of India resolve and capability” reflected in the absence of a firm response. India had to appeal to the international community to pressure Pakistan, and this also lacked assertion. It was “futile to expect others to pull our chestnuts out of the fire,” said a press note.

Mr. Jaitley said “some” of the retired officers and bureaucrats might well join the BJP before the Lok Sabha election and some might even contest. However, not all of them were supportive of the BJP, nor all corporate heads who interacted with Mr. Advani earlier were BJP admirers or supporters.

Mr. Advani found fault with the United Progressive Alliance government for not implementing a 2001 ‘blueprint’ of recommendations of a Group of Ministers headed by him.

His complaint was that the Manmohan Singh government did not take forward the “reform of the national security system” begun by the National Democratic Alliance government.

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