Saturday, December 25, 2010

Intelligence Failure -2

              Continued from IntelligenceFailure-1
  • Strife between various intelligence agencies- After independence there were only two intelligence agencies in India IB and MI. IB was civilian intelligence agency hence it was responsible for all internal and external intelligence. During 1962 war India had to face a debacle against China since there was no intelligence input of Chinese invasion, their strength and their strategy. For this unfortunate situation only IB was to be blamed since MI was telling again and again about ill motives of Chinese and their intrusions, but Nehru was not ready to listen to them as he had a tilt toward China because of his socialist philosophy. Now being the premier intelligence agency it was the responsibility of IB to warn Nehru about Chinese motives but the then
    K.S.Nair lay naked many 
    truths in his book
    IB chief Bhola Nath Mullik rejected reports of Chinese intrusion by calling them skeptics and presented doctored reports of Chinese strategy and strength. He also advised Nehru that sending some packets of Indian Army to the disputed area will keep Chinese away. The duo(along with Defence minister Krishna Menon and Nehru's cousin Major General B.M Kaul) was busy in singing the song of peace and the over confident Nehru stopped expansion of armed forces by arguing that developing nation like India can’t afford it. Situation was so bad that Indian ordinance factory had to make kettles, matchsticks and T-shirts to pay the salary of its employees. All this nonsense lead to fiasco in the war. Naturally this created strife between IB and MI and this split widened further after the failure of IB and MI in getting information about Pakistan’s ambitious plans Operation Gibraltar and Operation Grand slam and the debacle of Ichchogil Canal in 1965 war. Hence Indira Gandhi established R&AW to permanently end the conflict. However it did not extinguished the fire in fact it ignited the fire as this was a major setback for IB since R&AW was awarded the designation of secretariat and IB remained Directorate (in Indian administration those government departments and agencies are called Secretariat which are entrusted the task of policy making and those departments and agencies are called Directorate which implements the policy). Not only that earlier IB was in charge of external intelligence hence all the foreign postings, luxurious life styles, high pay and perks were in the pockets of IB but now R&AW had snatched that. R&AW had to directly report to P.M, whereas IB was put under the Home ministry. All this lead to clashes between IB and R&AW. Relation between MI and R&AW were extremely healthy in the decades of 70's, which paid us in 1971 war by giving us glaring victory over Pakistan. However in late 80’s relation between R&AW and MI started deteriorating and infiltration of Pakistan supported Mujahidins in Kargil and total unawareness of both the agencies about such a big plan attracted many criticisms, to which both washed their hands and blamed each other. Today every intelligence agency considers each other as their rival and don’t want to share information with each other, for which country is paying unaffordable cost.
  • Misuse of intelligence agencies by ruling parties-Intelligence agencies are being misused by politicians for their personal interests. During emergency Indira Gandhi used R&AW to tape the phone calls of her political opponents, not only that later on when she became suspicious about motives of some of her own colleagues and party members she got their phone also taped, because of which R&AW came to be known as Indira’s Gestapo (Gestapo was Hitler’s secrete police service which was used to nab people who were involved in the conspiracy against Hitler). This custom started by Indira Gandhi is followed by all the political parties without any hasitation. Remember Amarsingh’s phone tapping by intelligence agencies in 2008 and when dug dipper it was found that not only Amar singh and Mulayam singh even Digvijay Singh’s (congress general secretary) phone were also tapped. All political parties creates hue and cry when they are in opposition that their phones are being taped and they are being followed by intelligence agencies but when they themselves come in power, follows the same conventions which were cultivated by their predecessors. How one can expect an intelligence agency to give timely information about potential terrorist attack when they are busy in tapping phones of the political opponents of their bosses.  No other country in the world tolerates such nuisance. Even in India Supreme Court had put some stringent guidelines about phone tapping in one case in 2003. According to the judgement of S.C only 11 investigating and intelligence agencies were given the right to tap the phone in national interest and that too on the prior permission of judicial magistrate, but all political parties believe that morality and laws are made to be followed by others. 
  • Domination of IPS officers- All the top positions in intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces are dominated by IPS officers. This system was started by British, since they did not have much faith in Indian people. They wanted to consolidate their rule in India hence they recruited Indians on lower posts in all governments services and higher posts were exclusively reserved for British origin people, so that they can command the forces. As most of the IPS officers were from British origin top posts in intelligence agencies were given to them. This system needed to be changed after independence, since these IPS officers were not eligible for the technical work of espionage and intelligence. Although IPS officers also have their informers and intelligence network but it is only on local level and a job of intelligence agency is much more technical, which can’t be handled by a generalist IPS officer satisfactorily, to give it full justice a specialist is needed. Secondly IPS officers aren’t posted in intelligence agencies permanently, they are sent on deputation which is kind of temporary posting. Now think that when an IPS officer is posted in intelligence agency on deputation it takes at least six months or maximum a year to learn his work and become well trained and deputation mostly ends in two or three year, that means 33% to 50% time of an officer is wasted in training. Thus intelligence agencies have been converted in to a training institute for these IPS officers. Thirdly this system generates feeling of hopelessness in lower rungs of intelligence agencies, since the junior officers are appointed by direct recruitment and they have to work permanently in the intelligence agency which they have joined. Now in such condition where top posts are reserved for IPS officers they feel that no matter how much we work we are never going to be promoted.

  • Hidden under the iron curtain of secrecy- During British times intelligence agencies were mostly concerned with spying of congress leaders and hence their work and budget was kept secret under the “Official Secrets Act 1923”. After independence this law needed to be repelled since in a democratic country such colonial laws are unacceptable but it did not happened. Most of their work is kept confidential, they are kept out of the preview of RTI Act-2005.
    Their budget is not subject to scrutiny by C&AG or Parliamentary committees. In the countries like U.S, U.K and Israel there are special

    Major Gen V.K Singh exposed 
    R&AW in his book
    committees which look after the working of intelligence agencies and unlike India they are answerable to Parliament, whereas our intelligence agencies are growing under the island unaccountability. Retired R&AW officer Major Gen. V.K Singh has given vivid description of extravagance, misuse and abuse of taxpayer’s money by our intelligence agencies in his book India's External Intelligence.
Remedial measures to strengthen our intelligence network 
  • Official Secret Act should be abolished and a new law should be enacted to make working our intelligence agencies more transparent and make them accountable. Spending of intelligence agencies should be scrutinized by C&AG and its report should be presented in Parliament. All the intelligence agencies should be brought under the preview of RTI Act, so that people can ask what is being boiled in our intelligence agencies and misuse of intelligence agencies might be stopped. Now don’t give me  bull sheet argument that if the information about the working of intelligence agencies is published in Parliament all the secret information will reach in the hands of terrorists and enemy countries and this will harm national interest. When I argue in favor accountability of intelligence agencies I do not mean that the information like which spy of R&AW is posted in which embassy of Pakistan or who is our secret agent in Communist party’s Polit bureau in China. What I actually mean is review of their overall budget, their objectives, their organizational structure and their general working and the most important is keep watch over them that they are not being misused. Some people argue that C&AG is not right authority to perform such a technical task. To some extent they are correct but for that specialized regulatory authority like UPSC or Election commission could be appointed, which can look after the working of intelligence agencies. As mentioned earlier all this is already being done in countries like U.S and Israel and their security has not been threatened at all, then how come only our security is going to be threatened. Just by writing in the Preamble of constitution that India is a democratic country can’t make India a democratic country in the true sense. If we have to develop as democracy than we need to nurture the democratic ethos in our administration.
  •   Scrap the present system of sending IPS officers on deputation in intelligence agencies rather establish the Indian intelligence cadre like IAS, IPS, give them training and appoint them in intelligence agencies. This will serve two purpose first it will improve the working of intelligence agencies since, now those who are inducted on top post in intelligence agencies are specialist men fully trained and able to deal with such jobs. Second it will also give chance to officers in the lower rungs to get promoted by doing good work. Not only that these officers of Indian Intelligence Cadre can be transferred from one agency to another, so that they do not develop patriotic feeling about one particular agency and do not develop the our group their group schema so that inter agency rivalry can be reduced.
  • Enact stringent laws for phone tapping and wireless interception. Although S.C has given guidelines in various cases but now a comprehensive legislation needs to be enacted for this. So that a regulatory body can be established (or the matter can be included in the jurisdiction of already established regulatory body like TRAI) which will look after the matters of phone tapping and wireless interception and if any investigative or intelligence agency is found to be misusing or abusing this procedures than exemplary punitive action should be taken on them (including their political bosses). Since the rate at which the use of mobile phone and internet is growing in India, people’s personal life has become vulnerable to such misuse of communication technology and if we will not wakeup on time than in future our personal lives will be jeopardized by authorities at their will and discretion.
  •   Last but not least is politicians should stop discrimination and favoritism in intelligence agencies. We have seen long history of appeasement of one agency at the cost of other. IB was favorite of Nehru and Mrs. Gandhi’s favorite was R&AW, she had so much faith in R&AW that she imposed emergency and conducted operation Blue star on the advice of R&AW while the IB was opposing it(IB being internal intelligence agency it should have more say in matters like emergency and operation Blue star). Morarji Desai had allergy of R&AW because of R&AW's role in emergency hence he rather than restructuring the intelligence network settled personal scores with R&AW by reducing its strength and budget. R&AW had managed to engage a mole in Pakistani security and got blue print of Kahuta atomic plant but Morarji Desai declined to pay 10,000$ to that mole and instead informed about it to Pakistani establishment (if Morarji Desai wouldn’t have done foolishness than Pakistan couldn’t have become nuclear state). Rajiv Gandhi, strengthened R&AW again but misused it to give training and weapons to LTTE in the Shrilanka to get political advantage in Tamilnadu. All this favoritism and discrimination of intelligence agencies created rivalry among different agencies. Hence intelligence agencies have to be made professional and personal relations and grievances should be kept aside, otherwise country will keep paying for it. 
Unless and until we will not bring drastic reforms in our intelligence network we will keep bleeding in many upcoming 26/11.

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1 comment:

  1. Could not control becoming your fan. What an interesting, brave n patriotic writer with a problem and solution for the situation (as the case may be). India needs more such healthy citizen like you.
    - indli viewer


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