How my RTI application made the CIC to direct Defence Ministry to disclose joint operational doctrines

Oct 05, 2018


By: Venkatesh Nayak

Earlier this week, the Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the HQ, Integrated Defence Staff (HQ-IDS), Union Ministry of Defence to disclose the following Joint Operational Doctrines under The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act):

  • Joint Doctrine for Perception Management and Psychological Operations; 


     2) Joint Doctrine for Land and Air Operations.

In June 2010, the then Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, had released these operational doctrines. However, the text of these doctrines was not available in the public domain. Now after seven years, since I sought the information under the RTI Act, the CIC has directed the HQ-IDS to make the complete text of these doctrines public within 15 days (see PDF of the CIC’s order).

Unlike military strategies and tactics, military doctrines should be publicly accessible  
Official records containing details of military strategy and tactics are usually covered by exemptions relating to national security in RTI laws, which are based on internationally recognised good practice standards. Military doctrines, on the other hand, contain broad-brush information such as: what does the military service perceive itself to be, what is its mission, how is the mission to be carried out (without revealing the actual operational strategies and tactics), how has this mission been carried out in the past, etc. NATO’s Glossary of Terms and Definitions (2017 edition) defines doctrine as: “Fundamental principles by which the military forces guide their actions in support of objectives. It is authoritative but requires judgment in application.” So military doctrines must be accessible to any citizen without having to ask for it. Read More