An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 04 April 2006

Intelligence today is the key to market success, national success and planning, and success in dealing with terrorism. India is only now realizing it but it is never too late. India will sorely need good intelligence inputs in its path to become a global power. It is heartening to see there is professionalism rolling in into India’s Intelligence Agencies, by induction of senior naval Admirals and Commodores in the Agencies and NSC, who understand nuclear and global issues, thanks to their experience. The IAF and Army senior brass are learning about it now, and let us hope when and if India’s military and civil nuclear assets are separated the Armed Forces are brought into the loop.

The Indian Navy lived with and was taught NBCD warfare since its inception. Today, fortunately, the National Security Council and PMO have become the National Analysis Wing (NAW) and contributor to the decision making process in the NSA, PMO and Dy NSA, and all Intelligence inputs arrive swiftly at their doorsteps. PM has directed all Ministerial decisions also arrive at the PMO. India sorely needed one such coordinating agency. The USA went through pains to get Negroponte as the National Intelligence Director but India has done it silently. In the past the PMO under Brajesh Mishra, who was also NSA, handled both jobs but with no Intelligence experience, could not rein in the Intelligence Agencies to deliver or pull them up.

Even today the RAW operatives in missions abroad are independent of their Head of Missions in most spheres unlike in other countries. The present NSA has spent a lifetime in the game and hence the confidence level to have dealt with our Nuclear deal with USA. The former Dy NSA Satish Chandra proved to be able and NS Sisodia also in NSC worked as a team. Sisodiahas has now joined as the Director of the prestigious government think tank the IDSA, which will move in to a spanking new building next to the USI near the airport. This too is good news. In earlier days IDSA provided the position papers for the Government and that would be the intention of the IDSA but times are changing with a powerful NSC in place.

Those with experience know India’s Intelligence agencies’ wrote reams of Under Office reports but never offered recommendations, as bureaucrats look to political masters to show their cards. This was the bane of governance in India but times are changing. IDSA was therefore leaned upon when K Subrahmayam and Jasjit Singh were heads to provide inputs but with a CCS and a more powerful NSC secretariat jointly mixed with JIC in expanded premises, the system is delivering better and India’s grip on Afghanistan via Iran is a good example. Pakistan claims India’s intelligence agency which has excellent connections with the Northern alliance is active in the Waziristan and Baluschistan areas but that could be like in India, when we blamed CIA for all our ills and RK Laxman brought it alive in his cartoons.

Now with a rich Indian Government with $150b in FFE, drop in the foreign debt of $5b in one year and unbelievable intake in taxes and almost every good Indian company buying up 36 companies abroad, we are certain the funds for Intelligence have also soared. With money as bait the dirty tricks division of any Intelligence agency does well. USA is using this modus operandi in Afghanistan to check the war lords and in Iraq too. Ambassador Nambair has left the post of deputy NSA to go back to the Big Apple to help Kofi Annan UN Sec Gen after all he has learnt, hence the JIC Chairman Dr Pradhan is officiating, and lobbying for the post of Dy NSA has begun. The post may go to an IFS officer to appease the service which is seeing some down grading, after the demise of Co-NSA Mani Dixit and no replacement made by the PM. The wise Lee Kuan Yew had ordained no two Indians in Singapore should report to each other as Indians are poor at cooperating as equals, and maybe this is what the PM feels too! His job is one of coordination with Mrs`Sonia Gandhi who as Chairperson of the NAC had a reporting loop through IAS officers and one wonders if it still continues. The former Dy NSA’s writings in FORCE magazine, on the subject of the NSA/NSC workings are eye openers.

It must be understood that the National Security Council is the recipient of all Intelligence inputs. No special force can operate without Intelligence and the Indian Army never seriously took the example of how poor the Intelligence was when they stormed the Golden Temple or when the LTTE massacred a full platoon as they were paradropped into a school building in Sri Lanka in OP Pawan. These lacunae came out loud and clear in the two day Light Intensity Combat Operations (LICO) seminar conducted by Center for Land Warfare (CLAWS) at the USI recently. Intelligence inputs for LICO were discussed and the Air Chief ACM SP Tyagi who opened the Conference alluded to it. The Air Chief of Israel was in India recently and he too, spoke of it as in Israel LICO ops are conducted almost daily and use air power. Today fortunately India cooperates with many countries by sharing Intelligence. Many Intelligence heads who are mature also do well as leaders of nations in the walk of life they are assigned. In USA President Bush was a former CIA man, Ambassador Wisner’s father was an SAS man and Wisner had connections and knew the ropes. He did well in India and still does with AIG and Tata connections. Israel lives by its Intelligence and MI 5/6 are rated very high. President Putin is a living example to have changed Russia’s fortunes but by the old KGB methods many say. Mahatir in Malaysia and Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore made sure their intelligence kept them informed of even petty but crucial matters like who is making money, and what their personal life is all about. It is rumored that when Pandit Nehru was confronted with a problem of a Service Chief threatening to resign, the then IB Chief helped to place some facts before Panditji which Nehru used as a tool to see the Chief withdraw his resignation. In India the Intelligence was a Police Service and a place for bureaucratic servicemen with the attraction of foreign postings, which were earlier lucrative, but let’s hope all that has changed.



IDC Analysis

Change is the only constant and so even the world of Intelligence has changed and a book from Pakistan written by Brig Syed A I Tirmazi decorated with SI(M) titled ‘Profiles In Intelligence’ makes revealing reading. The Brigadier recounts his very forthcoming revelations about the workings and the professionalism and dedication of the Directorate of Intelligence. He did one tenure in the Directorate and two in the dreaded Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which comes out as a ruthless, powerful, money rich, resource laden and capable organization. Tiramzi was trained at the IB School in Karachi, School Of Military Intelligence Muree and underwent the Staff Course at Quetta. The US operations in Afghanistan with funds galore contributed much to the professionalism and shenanigans of the ISI, as they had total freedom to deal with issues for the CIA, which in fact had led to the birth of Osama bin Laden. That is the double head of Intelligence’s skull and dagger operations.

The book tells the story of the attractive female school teacher from India, who taught in the Indian School in Islamabad, recruited by Indian Intelligence according to Tirmazi, and how she became ISI’s double agent for money, shows us how good and swift their actions can be. The description of the swift operation of cultivating her comes straight out of a spy thriller. The author calls her India’s Mata Hari and says she is back in India and they miss her.

The story of how ISI trapped India’s naval attaché in Pakistan who was swiftly released from service under article 311 of the Constitution (pleasure of the President withdrawn), is another less known example. To prove ISI professionalism another story of how the USA’s CIA operatives photographed Kahuta secretly and Tirmazi tracked them down and broke into their hotel and picked up the photo reels but had to return them on the President’s orders. That was the relationship of President Zia with USA, but he was done in, in an unexplained C-130 crash. This shows Intelligence has to be accountable and let’s hope this step follows in India.

Recently Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6 –– the equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency/RAW –– introduced its first publicly accessible website, raising the hem of its cloak (if not its dagger) to just a modicum of scrutiny. So intense was the interest in this move by an intelligence service –– once so secret that it denied its own existence –– that the site recorded 3.5 million hits in its first few hours, slowing access to a crawl, said Nev Johnson, a British Foreign Office press officer who speaks on behalf of the Secret Intelligence Service. "It's been pretty astronomical," he said.

Girding for the fight against global terrorism, the agency developed the site primarily to recruit agents, operatives and analysts from a much broader academic and social background than in the past –– and to let would-be spies know how to join. So wide is the net that the site has versions in Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese and Russian –– hardly the kind of overture that would have been expected in the cold war heyday of writers like John le Carré, or double-agents like Kim Philby and Guy Burgess, when the point was to keep foes at bay by the most devious of means.

The US has announced the creation of a new intelligence agency led by the CIA to co-ordinate all American overseas spying activities. The National Clandestine Service (NCS) will oversee all human espionage operations –– meaning spying by people rather than by technical means. The move is the latest in the post-9/11 reforms of US intelligence agencies. Analysts say the NCS restores some authority to the CIA after it lost overall control of US intelligence. The chief of the new service will supervise the CIA's espionage operations and co-ordinate all overseas spying, including those of the FBI and the Pentagon. The director of the new agency, whose identity will remain secret and is simply known as "Jose", will report directly to the head of the CIA, Porter Goss. "This is another positive step in building an intelligence community that is more unified, co-ordinated and effective," National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said. Setting up the NCS was one of more than 70 recommendations made by a commission on weapons of mass destruction in March, which was highly critical of the US' intelligence capabilities.

As part of reforms following the 11 September 2001 attacks, the CIA lost overall control of US intelligence to the newly created National Director of Intelligence. Mr Goss said the new service represents "an expression of confidence in the CIA" from President George Bush and Mr Negroponte. "No agency has greater skill and experience in this difficult, complex, and utterly vital discipline of intelligence," Mr Goss said.

But times have changed and so has Indian Intelligence with a new set up to monitor all electronic transmissions, phones and emails like the National Security Agency with aerial assets too. This is because now the Government has the money and if used correctly Indian security and economy will be the benefactor.

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