Whenever any terrorist attack takes place in our country politicians start their favorite game of mud throwing on each other. center says we had given the information about possible terrorist attack but state did not took it seriously, whereas state claims the information was not actionable and then both play the blame game and finally the word intelligence failure is called on to perform heroic role in this whole vulgar drama. After every terrorist attack many questions arise in our mind such as what actually means by intelligence failure? Why every time our intelligence agencies fail to provide the information about terrorist attack? How our intelligence network works? What are their problems and limitations and what are remedial measures which can be taken to strengthen our intelligence network. First thing first, Intelligence failure simply means inability or incapability of intelligence agencies to provide appropriate information on time about the potential civil, military, economic and diplomatic threats to the country. Now the second question is why our intelligence agencies fail to provide timely information about threats? For this first we need to understand the structure of intelligence network and then we will discuss about their problems and their solutions.
As there are total 276 intelligence agencies in India, here I can't write about all but will discuss about a broad
|Chart of India's Intelligence network|
framework of intelligence network in India. At the top of our intelligence network is Prime Minister's Office (P.M.O), which supervises the work of intelligence agencies and formulates diplomatic, military and economic policies accordingly. As Prime Minister is head of government and Nuclear command both this type of arrangement is necessary in order to take immediate action in emergency situation.
- National Security Council Secretariat- National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) is the apex organization in India’s intelligence network. It was established in 1998 to fill the gap of coordination among intelligence agencies. In the decade of 90's because of growing incidence of infiltration government desperately felt a need of a single agency which can coordinate the information gathered through different channels and disseminate it to respective stations(i.e. department or agencies). NSCS has three arms viz Strategic Policy Group (S.P.G), Joint Intelligence Committee (J.I.C) and National Security Advisory Board (N.S.A.B).
1) S.P.G is the most important arm among the three organs of NSCS. As it is a decision making and policy making body in the NSCS, its powers are enormous. It consists of secretaries of Cabinet, Defence, Home, Finance, Foreign, Defence production, Atomic energy, Space and Revenue department and ministries. Apart from that chief of staff of all the three services, Governor of RBI, chief of R&AW and IB are also member of this body. It looks after long term and short term economic, military, scientific and strategic threats to the country and prepares a strategy to counter them. For instance Pakistan is pumping fake currency in Indian economy to hamper its growth; hence SPG collects information regarding network and size of the business and develops a strategy to combat the menace of fake currency.
2) J.I.C which is a representative body of all the intelligence agencies was former apex agency in the field of intelligence, before establishment of NSCS. However it still looks after the analyses of information brought by DIA, R&AW and IB, but policy making function is transferred to other arms of NSCS.
3) N.S.A.B is headed by National Security Adviser (NSA) who is a person of eminence in the field of diplomacy, defence and intelligence. He is given the rank of cabinet minister and other members of the body who are also experts in their respective fields are given the rank of minister of state. This body advises P.M in discharging his duty related to defence, diplomacy and strategic relations. NSA also plays very important role in the formulation of anti terror policy.
- Ministry of Home Affairs - Although MHA is not an intelligence agency, it plays important role in the coordination and dissemination of intelligence through various channels and works as a link between center and states. After independence various paramilitary forces such as Assam Rifles, BSF, CISF, CRPF, Rapid Action Force have been established to strengthen the internal security. All these agencies come under the jurisdiction of MHA, hence intelligence accessed through them on drug racket, infiltration, poaching, naxalism, money laundering etc. is provided to respective states. Apart from this in every state from a circle inspector to a police commissioner everyone has their own informers, not only that state CID, crime branch and Anti Terrorist Squad all have their separate intelligence network. This local intelligence network of police gives them information about unorganized crimes like chain snatching, rape etc. and organized crimes like extortion, smuggling, drug trafficking etc. however most of the information is related to local crimes, but sometimes they do get some information about interstate and international crime, terrorism, cybercrime etc. about which regular sharing of information is done between different state police.
- Intelligence Bureau- IB is India’s oldest intelligence agency, it has a history of more than 150 years. In this long journey many times its name has been changed but its pivotal place in Indian intelligence network has remained unchanged. Since internal intelligence and counter intelligence is IB’s area of jurisdiction, it works under the direct control of MHA. For this it maintains state headquarters in every state and these field units gathers information about various anti national elements like Naxalites, Maoists, religious fundamentalist groups, cross border intruders, fake currency suppliers, underworld, anti social elements which destabilizes India’s social harmony, spies of enemy countries etc. It also works as publicity arm of GOI in the country by surveying the public opinion about various government policies.
- Research & Analysis Wing- R&AW was established in 1965 to relief IB from its mammoth workload by taking over the work of external intelligence. It keeps its spies in Indian embassies situated all over the world and sends its officers in various diplomatic missions sent by India in different countries. R&AW also gives military assistance to Indian armed forces in various international operations. R&AW is a publicity arm of GOI on international front and hence by various means it creates and maintains favorable public opinion for India in different countries of world. It also gives protection to protectorate states of India like Nepal, Bhutan etc. During 1971 war it also gave training of sabotage and guerilla warfare to the soldiers of Bangladesh Liberation Army. In 1975 on the order of GOI it created pro Indian environment in Sikkim which helped (as it molded referendum results in favor of India) to amalgamate Sikkim in India. R&AW has two arms namely Aviation Research Center which has UAV’s by which it conducts aerial photography in border areas and Special Frontier Force which is a kind of commando force used for covert operation, sabotage, guerrilla warfare and military assistance to armed forces. R&AW also looks after COMNIT (communication intelligence), ELNIT (electrical intelligence) and SIGNIT (signal intelligence) through its offshoot agencies Radio Research Center (RRC) and National Technical Research Organization (NTRO). NTRO is a highly technical agency, which is mainly occupied by scientists who looks after the scientific intelligence (such as espionage of nuclear program, space program, weapon development program etc.) and interprets the photographs taken by ISRO satellites.
- Defence Intelligence Agency- DIA works under the command of Defence Ministry. It was established in March 2002 to work as collaborative agency in the field of DEFNIT (defence intelligence). Prior to its formation the three intelligence agencies of our armed forces namely Military Intelligence, Naval Intelligence and Air Intelligence used to work separately and independently, which created communication gap and lack of cooperation in the field of DEFNIT. Apart from this Directorate of Signal Intelligence (SI) which is responsible for intercepting wireless communication of neighboring countries and maintaining wireless communication with our cross border units and safeguarding it also works under DIA. Joint Cipher Bureau is a technical agency which looks after the Cryptography and encryption. All the intelligence agencies and armed forces world wide use code language for inter organizational communication. This code language is known as Cryptography and the coding of language is called as encryption. JCB prepares these codes for all the intelligence agencies and armed forces of India as well as decodes intercepted information of enemy countries and terrorist organisation.
- Directorate of Revenue Intelligence- The D.R.I was formed in 1957 to deal with evasion of central excise duties, prevent narcotic drug trafficking, smuggling and economic frauds. D.R.I functions under the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue. With the initiation of liberalisation, privatisation, globalisation policy by government, D.R.I has to face new challenges with the increase in the incidence of drug trafficking, cyber crime, money laundering, tax evasion, black money and fake currency many fold. D.R.I presently deals with the collection of intelligence, its analysis, collation, interpretation and dissemination on matters relating to violations of customs laws, and anti-narcotics law. In order to ensure effective discharge of its responsibilities, DRI maintains close liaison with all the important enforcement agencies in India like the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Income-Tax department, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Border Security Force, Central Bureau of Investigation, Coast Guard, the State Police authorities and also with all the Customs and Central Excise Commissionerates. It also maintains close liaison with the World Customs Organisation, Brussels, the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office at Tokyo, INTERPOL and foreign Customs Administrations. Intelligence agencies and their possible solution.
Till now I have discussed about the structure of India's intelligence network, in next article I will talk about the problems of our intelligence network and their possible solutions.