In December 1998, the Government set up a special Task Force headed by Shri K. C. Pant, the then Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, to recommend a national security management system for India, drawing upon the experience of such systems in other countries. A three-tier structure was set up on the recommendation of the Task Force, consisting of a National Security Council, a Strategic Policy Group and a National Security Advisory Board.
The National Security Council is the apex body, headed by the Prime Minister, with the National Security Adviser as its Secretary. The Strategic Policy Group is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, consisting of serving senior officials responsible for policy-making and for follow up action in matters concerning national security. It includes the Chiefs of the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing. Its main task is to make policy recommendations to the National Security Council.
The National Security Advisory Board consists of senior retired officials, civilian as well as military, academics and distinguished members of civil society drawn from and having expertise in Internal and External Security, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Science & Technology and Economic Affairs.
The NSAB meets at least once a month or more frequently as needed. Its principal function is to undertake long-term analysis of and provide perspectives on issues of national security. It may also take up for study specific issues which the National Security Council may refer to it. Its policy recommendations and options are conveyed to the National Security Council for its consideration.
The first NSAB was constituted in December 1998 with Shri K. Subrahmanyam as its Convener. Initially the Board was constituted for one year, but since 2004-6, the Board has been reconstituted for two years.
Over the years the NSAB has contributed a large number of studies on both current and long-term issues of strategic significance. It produced a Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 2001, a Strategic Defence Review in 2002 and a National Security Review in 2007 among other documents.
The Board has on its current agenda the following subjects: