The Narendra Modi government on Monday appointed Arvind Gupta, a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, of the 1979 batch, as deputy national security advisor (NSA). This appointment comes within days of Nehchal Sandhu quitting as deputy NSA, citing personal reasons.
According to sources, Sandhu’s exit might have been linked to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) appointees being replaced in top offices under the new dispensation. Both National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Sandhu have headed the Intelligence Bureau.
Sixty-one-year-old Gupta takes over as deputy NSA in the Prime Minister’s South Block office after relinquishing the post of director-general at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). Gupta has been appointed deputy NSA and secretary, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), in the rank and pay of secretary to the government of India, for three years, according to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
Gupta had served in various capacities at Indian diplomatic missions in Moscow (Russia), London (UK), and Ankara (Turkey). He was also a member of an informal group constituted by the Prime Minister to revive the action plan on nuclear disarmament presented by Rajiv Gandhi at the third Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations General Assembly in June 1998. Gupta also worked in the Ministry of External Affairs on different assignments, before retiring in 2013.
Gupta was a visiting member at the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (1974-76) and served at the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (1976) and at State Bank of India (1976-79) before joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1979. Prior to joining IDSA, he was joint secretary at the Indian National Security Council Secretariat from 1999 to 2007.
At NSCS, he handled a wide range of international and national security issues. He also worked with the Kargil Review committee.
While Sandhu quit the post of deputy NSA and secretary NSCS recently, there have been other exits of UPA appointees. Ajit Lal, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Council, and Prakash Menon, military advisor to the NSA, retired from the Secretariat last week.