Under new policy, India could declassify military operations within 25 years unlike earlier

By The Print

India could declassify certain aspects of past military operations and wars, sooner than the earlier 25-year cut-off period, under a new policy formulated by the defence ministry Saturday.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the policy on archiving, declassification and compilation or publication of war or operations histories by the Ministry of Defence.

According to ministry sources, there was no proper policy on this earlier and it is part of having war histories written with a clear-cut policy on declassification of military records. This was recommended by the Kargil Review Committee, set up in 1999 and headed by K. Subrahmanyam, and the N.N. Vohra Committee report, submitted in 1993, to analyse lessons learnt and prevent future mistakes.

While the new policy is for internal purposes, defence ministry sources noted that certain aspects of past operations and wars could be made public sooner, if needed.

The earlier policy noted that records should be classified only 25 years after the operation, but with this new policy certain records could be available in the public domain sooner than that.

The History Division, under the defence ministry, will be responsible for coordinating with various departments while compiling, seeking approval and publishing the war or operations histories.

The new policy mandates the constitution of a committee headed by joint secretary of the defence ministry and comprising representatives of all the Services, external affairs ministry, home ministry and other organisations and prominent military historians (if required).

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