Defence Ministry okays policy to archive The government, however, will continue to have discretionary powers over withholding any such records it finds sensitive.

Defence Ministry okays policy to archive The government, however, will continue to have discretionary powers over withholding any such records it finds sensitive.

The Defence Ministry mentioned in a statement on Saturday that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh “has approved the policy on archiving, declassification and compilation/publication of war/operations histories by the Ministry of Defence” under which “each organisation under the Ministry of Defence such as Services, Integrated Defence Staff, Assam Rifles and Indian Coast Guard, will transfer the records, including war diaries, letters of proceedings & operational record books, etc., to the History Division” of the ministry for “proper upkeep, archival and writing the histories”.

The policy has laid down timelines to be followed to compile all such records. The committee will have to be formed “within two years of completion of war/operations” and after that “collection of records and compilation should be completed in three years and disseminated to all concerned”. Sources mentioned that till now the official records of each operation or war were not available at one central location, which this policy will remedy, by going through all relevant documents.

“The requirement of having war histories written with clear cut policy on declassification of war records was recommended by Kargil Review Committee headed by K Subrahmanyam as well as NN Vohra Committee in order to analyse lessons learnt and prevent future mistakes,” the statement mentioned, and added that the recommendation by the Group of Ministers on national security after Kargil “also mentioned the desirability of authoritative war history”.

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