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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Approves Declassification of War Histories, Archiving

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday approved the policy on archiving, declassification and compilation of histories of wars and operations by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

According to the policy, each organisation under the Ministry of Defence such as tri-services, Integrated Defence Staff, Assam Rifles and Indian Coast Guard, will transfer the records, including war diaries, letters of proceedings and operational record books, to the History Division of Defence Ministry for proper upkeep, archival and writing of histories.

“Timely publication of war histories would give people an accurate account of the events, provide authentic material for academic research and counter the unfounded rumours,” the Defence Ministry statement noted.

“The responsibility for declassification of records rests with the respective organisations as specified in the Public Record Act 1993 and the Public Record Rules 1997,” the Defence statement noted.

Records older than 25 years to be appraised by archival experts and transferred to the National Archives of India once the war or operations histories have been compiled.

A committee will be constituted which will be headed by Joint Secretary, Defence Ministry, representatives of the tri-services, MEA (Ministry of External Affairs), MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) and other organisations and prominent military historians (if required), for compilation of war and operations histories.

The requirement of having war histories written with clear cut policy on declassification of war records was recommended by the Kargil Review Committee headed by K Subrahmanyam as well as NN Vohra Committee in order to analyse lessons learnt and prevent future mistakes.


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