India's strategic affairs guru K. Subrahmanyam dead

Written by: Ani
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New Delhi, Feb.2 (ANI): One of India's well known analysts on strategic affairs, K. Subrahmanyam died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Tuesday night. He was 82.

Subrahmanyam , one of the most respected voices in India on global security affairs, was suffering from lung and cardiac problems. He was also suffering from cancer.

At the time of his death, he was the Chairman of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Global Strategic Developments.

A founding director of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Analyses (IDSA), he was the doyen of the Indian strategic community and consulted by every government on issues of foreign policy and international security.

He also headed the Kargil review committee and submitted a voluminous report on security lapses and remedies.

His wife, three sons and a daughter survive him.

His middle son, S. Jaishankar, is currently India's Ambassador to China.

Subrahmanyam was a key figure in framing and influencing Indian security and nuclear policy. He presided over several Indian government committees and commissions of inquiry and was a major advocate of the 2007 Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.

Born in January 1929, Subrahmanyam grew up in Tiruchirapalli and in Madras. Enrolling at Presidency College he received an M.Sc. in chemistry from Madras University in 1950 and, after standing first in the Civil Services Examination that year, was appointed to the Indian Administrative Service in 1951.

After service in the Tamil Nadu cadre and in the Defence Ministry, he was appointed a Rockefeller Fellow in Strategic Studies at the London School of Economics in 1966.

On returning to India, he was appointed Director of the newly created Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi, a position that he held until 1975.

He then was appointed to a number of senior Indian government positions, including Chairman of India's Joint Intelligence Committee in New Delhi, Home Secretary in Tamil Nadu and Secretary for Defence Production in the Ministry of Defence.

He headed the IDSA for a second time in 1980.

Thereafter, he went to England as a Visiting Professor and Nehru Fellow at St. John's College, Cambridge in 1987.

Between 1974 and 1986 Subrahmanyam also served on a number of United Nations and other multilateral study groups, on issues such as Indian Ocean affairs, disarmament and nuclear deterrence; and also at various Pugwash conferences as a senior member.

Subrahmanyam also authored or co-authored fourteen books, including The Liberation War (1972) with Mohammed Ayoob about the Bangladesh Liberation War, Nuclear Myths and Realities (1980), India and the Nuclear Challenge (1986), The Second Cold War (1983) and Superpower Rivalry in the Indian Ocean (1989) with Selig S Harrison.

Subrahmanyam declined the Padma Bhushan in 1999, stating that bureaucrats and journalists should not accept government awards.

A festschrift in honour of Subrahmanyam, with essays by Indian and American policy experts, academics and journalists, was published in 2004 to mark his 75th birthday.

Always an influential Indian media figure, he was featured in India Today magazine's 'High and Mighty' listing in 2006.

The IDSA instituted an annual 'K Subrahmanyam Award' for contributions to strategic affairs in 2007.

Subrahmanyam was also the Convener of India's first National Security Council Advisory Board (NSCAB) in 1998.

The board drafted India's draft nuclear doctrine, which governs all policy aspects with regard to usage and deployment of India's nuclear arsenal.

The Kargil Review Committee of which he was the chairman led to a large-scale restructuring of Indian Intelligence.

The report was, however, criticized for not assigning specific responsibility for failures in detecting the reasons for the intrusions from Pakistan into the Kargil area.

Subrahmanyam was a frequent commentator and columnist in several Indian and international newspapers.

After retiring from government service in the late 80's, he served as consulting editor and policy expert with various Indian publications. These included The Tribune, The Economic Times and The Times of India.

He was on the editorial board of The Times of India when India conducted the 'Shakti' nuclear tests in 1998 and the largely centrist paper famously withheld his comments, temporarily, while it condemned the weapons tests.

Some of his writings in the press have been compiled and published in two volumes. (ANI)

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