Thursday, April 07, 2005

INDIA: The initiative on foreign policy is the prime minister’s again

For a ringside view of the prime minister’s skills in managing diverse pulls and pressures and yet seeing through policies with clarity and vision, one need not, however, look beyond recent developments in the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external spy agency. RAW was in danger of being made redundant only a few weeks ago. The appointment of Hormis Tharakan, who has a credible record of service with the agency as RAW’s new chief, helped salvage the agency in more ways than one. Having upset carefully laid plans by those who wanted to see RAW buried or made an adjunct of the Intelligence Bureau, Singh had to agree to compromises. The most significant of these involved the cabinet secretary, B.K. Chaturvedi. Ashok Chaturvedi, who is related to the cabinet secretary, has been made RAW’s deputy chief, although he had earlier been overlooked for promotion. The cabinet secretary declined to recuse himself from the committee which promoted his relative. According to the civil service grapevine in New Delhi, at least two government secretaries expressed themselves against restoring Ashok Chaturvedi’s seniority, but the cabinet secretary dismissed their opinion......More