Govt mulling post of national security adviser

Kathmandu, March 3

For the first time, the government is doing homework to appoint a single person as national security and foreign affairs adviser ‘as these two areas are interrelated’.

Bishnu Rimal, chief adviser to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, said appointing a national security and foreign affairs adviser was under consideration as part of the ongoing process of strengthening and reforming the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. “The government is doing homework. Things have not been fixed yet,” said Rimal.

Although there’s a practice of appointing foreign affairs adviser in Nepal, this is the first time the government is planning to have an adviser for national security.

In countries where it is in practice, a national security adviser serves as chief adviser to the government in matters of security. S/he is not usually a member of the Cabinet, but is a member of military or security councils.

In neighbouring India, the national security adviser is the primary adviser to the prime minister in all matters related to internal and external threats to the country. S/he oversees strategic issues. The national security adviser receives all intelligence reports and presents them to the prime minister. Due to such powers, the NSA is a prominent and powerful office in the bureaucracy.

However, the proposed national security and foreign affairs adviser in Nepal will have a different role, according to UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali.

“The Terms of Reference of the national security and foreign affairs adviser in Nepal will not be exactly like the ToR of national security advisers of other countries,” said Gyawali.

“Since national security and foreign affairs are interrelated, most probably one person will be appointed to look after both the issues. Things, however, are yet to be fixed.”

With added responsibilities of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers after bringing some departments and institutions under it, the government is also planning to appoint a minister in the OPMCM.

The minister will be called ‘cabinet minister’ and will most probably handle the added responsibilities of the OPMCM, according to UML Secretary Gyawali.

The government has brought Social Welfare Council, National Investigation Department, Department of Revenue Investigation and Department of Money Laundering Investigation, among others, under the purview of the OPMCM.

“The prime minster is working to make the OPMCM strong. As part of this strengthening process, a cabinet minister might be appointed,” said Gyawali. “Besides, the cabinet minister might also coordinate with the federal and provincial governments.”

Chief Adviser Rimal also said that the cabinet minister could be appointed as done in some countries. Also, there are posts for six secretaries in the OPMCM, so the post of cabinet minister can be created. “If appointed, the PM might give some of his responsibilities to the cabinet minister,” said Rimal.