Feature Article

US intelligence assessed Narayanan as anti LTTE

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 March 2011, 19:13 GMT]
A classified cable of the US embassy in India accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks shows that the US embassy made a particular note of the bias of M K Narayanan, the former National Security Advisor (NSA) of India, against the LTTE. “US Consulate General Chennai officials recall his repeatedly expressed and profound distaste for the LTTE,” notes the cable. Narayanan was the chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau during the IPKF times and was the NSA during the Vanni war. He and the present NSA, Shiv Shankar Menon, handled India’s role in the war and in the way the war ended. During the war, both were accused of wielding ‘extra-parliamentary’ powers. The US cable noted Narayanan as part of the traditional "coterie" around Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi and as a part of the Keralite “Mafia” in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The cable accessed by The Hindu, has a note: "This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available."

The cable classified by Robert O. Blake and originated from David Mulford, ref: 04 CHENNAI 575, was dated 01-12-2005.

M.K. Narayanan, India's national security adivsor
M.K. Narayanan, India's former National Security Adivsor
The following are some excerpts from the cable, revealing how the US embassy viewed M K Narayanan:

Special Adviser to PM Singh and Acting NSA MK Narayanan clearly has the inside track to succeed Dixit, based on proximity and personal relations with Mrs. Gandhi.

By most accounts, PM Singh,s Special Advisor MK (""Mike"") Narayanan, who became Acting National Security Advisor on January 4 after Dixit's death, has the inside track to become his permanent replacement. Narayanan brings over four decades of experience in the Indian intelligence community, and as a long-time Gandhi family loyalist is seen as part of the traditional ""coterie"" around Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi.

If Narayanan continues as NSA, he will face an early test as both Intelligence Bureau head AK Doval and Research and Analysis Wing chief CD Sahay are due to retire on or about January 30. The IB succession will probably be straightforward, but some Indian press accounts suggest that RAW officers are concerned that Narayanan, whose IB background makes him by definition and institutionally skeptical of RAW, would look outside the organization for Sahay's successor, and might bring in a senior IB officer for the job.

If he inherits Dixit's diplomatic role with Pakistan, China, and the US, Narayanan will suffer several disadvantages, the most important of which is a lack of practical negotiating experience.

Narayanan joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1955 and spent his first four years with the IPS in Tamil Nadu.

Although his writings have occasionally been critical of ""the West,"" he has not shown visceral anti-US attitudes.

His many years of service to the Gandhi family earned him his post as Special Advisor.

Narayanan's experience in Tamil Nadu made him an effective figure in intelligence activities involving Sri Lankan Tamil issues after Rajiv Gandhi appointed him IB Director in 1987.

US Consulate General Chennai officials recall his repeatedly expressed and profound distaste for the LTTE. He is also known as an expert on the Indian Left and communism.

In 1990, Prime Minister VP Singh moved Narayanan from the IB to become Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Secretary of the National Security Council. Less than a year later, Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, whose government was supported by the Congress Party, reappointed him as IB head.

Narayanan is also a founding, but now inactive, member of the Center for Security Analysis, a Chennai-based think tank.

Born on March 10, 1934 to a Kerala Nair (non-Brahmin, upper caste) family, Narayanan completed his bachelor's degree at Madras Christian College.

Son-in-law Ajit Nambiar is Chairman and Managing Director of BPL Ltd, a consumer-durable manufacturing company, on whose board of directors Narayanan has served.

After retirement, Narayanan made Chennai his permanent home […]. When he became Special Adviser to PM Singh, he often spent weekends in Chennai, which will probably cease if he becomes NSA on a permanent basis.

He also travels to Kerala every winter to visit the Hindu temple in Sabarimala, South India's largest pilgrimage site.

Along with Principal Secretary TKA Nair, Narayanan constitutes what is now a Keralite ""mafia"" in the PMO. In a bureaucratic culture dominated by North Indian Hindi speakers, this Keralite lock on the PM's inner bureaucratic circle represents something of an anomaly, which could in the long term create new faultlines around the Prime Minister.

External Links:
The Hindu: 25259: After Dixit, India ponders role of its NSA and who will get the job


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