New Policy for Declassification of War Histories

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a policy on declassification of War histories.

Key Points about new policy

  • Under this policy, Ministry of Defence (MoD) will archive, declassify, compile and publish war and operations histories.
  • However, declassification of older wars like of 1962 war is not automatic.
  • Declassification will be taken up on case-by-case basis by a committee which will be constituted under the new policy.
  • As per policy, records should ordinarily be declassified in 25 years.
  • Records which are older than 25 years should be appraised by archival experts and transferred to National Archives of India after histories of war or operations have been compiled.

Will all reports on wars be public?

Committee will take a view on earlier wars and operations. Compiled history on wars and operations will be consumed internally first, within five years. After that, the committee may decide to publicly release whole or parts of it based on the sensitivity of subject.

About Committee to be constituted

As per policy, a committee will be constituted which will be headed by Joint Secretary of MoD.  It will comprise of representatives of Services, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and prominent military historians for compilation of war & operations histories. History Division of the committee will be responsible to coordinate with various departments while compiling, for approval & publishing of war and operations histories.

Background

Proposal of having war histories written with clear cut policy on declassification was recommended by Kargil Review Committee headed by K Subrahmanyam and N.N. Vohra Committee to analyse lessons learnt and prevent future mistakes.

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