Delhi, 08 May 2006
In USA Peter Gross the CIA head resigned because he did not
enjoy what he was doing and made no statement but decided to leave.
That tells us once again that the person who deals with Intelligence
must enjoy his job and possess some special qualities like doing the
job without boasting. It is not an easy task and Intelligence
agencies should never hope for a public pat on the back.
operations 20 years ago, the Army lost 1500 soldiers fighting the
LTTE. The Navy too assisted the Army in ports and ashore with
assistance from marine commandos and won Vir Chakras. No Indian Navy
ship was attacked nor a single naval or commando sailor was killed.
It was a silent Intelligence operation.
USA the silent Gen Hayden with experience in Intelligence (he headed
the USA's National Security Agency (NSA) is being considered for the
CIA hat. The NSA is twice the size of CIA.
India is setting up
NTRO as India's NSA with aviation facilities too, which will be a
duplication of the Aviation Research Agency of RAW. In national
governance the Leaders should know the truth provided bluntly by
Intelligence agencies and critically analyse it 末 as Churchill did
during World War II 末 and never let the public know the truth, good
or bad, till the official records are released.
Intelligence is an art as much as it is a science and the
user of Intelligence must know what is the end result he requires
for the Nation's national interest? Only then can the user of
intelligence appreciate inputs and the provider must provide the
pointers by analysis and warn Leaders of danger. The provider must
also carry out basic research in the subject or country he or she is
charged with to follow. The present National Security Adviser in
India M K Narayanan is surviving so well and assisting the Prime
Minister and PMO and possibly Sonia Gandhi also, for precisely this
reason 末 he has lived no other life and his background in
Intelligence, his research and his minimum exposure to public are
the keys to his success.
So far basic research and background were lacking in
intelligence agencies and especially RAW as most of the inductees
were police bureaucrats and they had completely neglected informing
the Leadership what the inputs meant. This fact is clearly brought
out in a Rediff.com article by B Raman posted below, who is an
ex-RAW policeman turned journalist. He admits his RAW post only now.
In the past he always referred to himself as Secretary in Cabinet
Secretariat. He has come forward to defend RAW in the Kargil half
war and blames the Army for lapses.
He has criticised the former Army Chief V P Malik for blaming
RAW intelligence inputs (or the lack of them) for the initial
debacles in Kargil. We had predicted this battle by Intelligence
agencies to preempt Malik's book, because RAW must have got a
preprint copy from the Printers otherwise they are no Intelligence
agency! The inputs pointing to
preparation in Kargil are good, but there was no categorical
statement of alarm by RAW. There were other lapses too 末 the Chiefs
of Staff system failed and Gen Malik was out of the country. We have
on many occasions explained these, pointing to the need for a CDS
It is therefore no wonder that the RAW and
NSC have started
inducting ex Armed Forces officers into the second oldest
profession. In India the Intelligence agencies send intelligence
inputs as a U.O. Note, which is not standardized and which seldom
has a recommendation or a signature (so no one may be blamed?). In
USA the CIA issues a Memorandum Notification with recommendations,
though the USA too suffers from poor coordination. In
the NSA has taken over the task of preparing Intelligence inputs, as
the present incumbent has the experience and the confidence of the
With this background analysis on Kargil and Intelligence
inputs we post below the Rediff.com piece by B Raman for
introspection, highlighting one Q and A as a clue to the shenanigans
of the Government decision making process, from a book recently
written by Col Kaul an IPKF Vir Chakra recipient who was maimed in
the Sri Lanka campaign. We feel if there was a CDS the
Sri Lanka debacle
and Kargil's early debacles could have been avoided and yet Gen. VP
Malik did lead the Indian Army to final victory and Indian Army
junior officers led their men to death and victory. So B. Raman
should gracefully close the debate and he should know that
all is fair
in love and
war and RAW should ripen to the reality. Bharat Rakshak (www.bharat-rakshak.com)
has a long analysis on the RAW for interested viewers. Only when
official records are released will we know the truth.
Q. Your痴 (Col. Kaul) is the first book ever written by an
IPKF veteran. There are only two or three publications that came out
on the IPKF and all of them were by the Generals of that time.
(General Sardeshpande, Depinder Singh, etc). Why is there so much
dearth in information? Do you think that IPKF veterans don't like to
talk about that era? Either way, what could be the reason?
A. The IPKF Operations to my mind and in my opinion were a
mix of confused political aims, misplaced military ambitions,
unprepared and disorganized lower level tactics, centralized control
of subunit level operations by the MO (Military Operations)
Directorate, lack of integration of the southern states in the
national objectives, all of which led to a recipe for disaster.
Though studies have been carried out, including one at the Army War
College of which I was a member, it is best seen as 'something we
rather not talk about' as was the case with the 1962 Indo砲hina War.
Records of which are still not available to the public 42 years
Should we believe General Malik?
By B Raman
May 05, 2006
The perennial debate over the functioning of the intelligence
agencies between the Indian Army and the agencies has once again
been revived following the publication by General Ved Prakash Malik,
the Chief of the Army Staff at the time of the Kargil conflict in
1999, of his memoirs titled Kargil: From Surprise To Victory.
In his book, he has stated that
successful intrusions reflected a major deficiency in our system of
collecting, reporting, collating and assessing intelligence.
He throws stones at the agencies from his safe sanctuary of
retirement, hoping that people would have by now forgotten his sins
of commission and omission. The book is about how despite being,
according to him, let down by the intelligence agencies, he and the
army, operating under his leadership, retrieved the honour of
India and ejected
the Pakistani intruders from the mountain heights they had occupied.
As I read his claim and his account of his great leadership
of the war as projected by him, my mind went back to December 1971
when I was a young officer in the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW),
India's external intelligence agency, then headed with great
distinction by R N Kao.
Kao was professional to his fingertips and known for his
operational brilliance and personal humility and a readiness to give
credit where it is due and to accept the inadequacies of the
organisation, which he headed for nine years.
After the brilliant win of the Indian Army against its
Pakistani counterpart in 1971, General (he was not yet a field
marshal) Sam Manekshaw wrote a very warm letter to Kao, expressing
his appreciation of what he described as the brilliant work done by
R&AW in the months preceding and during the war. Kao marked the
letter to Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister and the political
architect of the victory, for perusal.
The letter came back from her with the remark: 'The General
is generous in his praise because he won the war.'
Left delicately unsaid was the truism that the army would
have been the first to put the blame on the intelligence agencies
had it lost the war. The Indian Army is yet to produce a leader, who
does not look for scapegoats when faced with failure. And what
easier scapegoats than the intelligence agencies! One cannot blame
General Malik for not being an exception to this rule.
Even during the 1971 war, while the Indian Army covered
itself with glory in the Eastern sector, it did not do that well on
the Western sector. Its senior officers responsible for the Western
sector shifted the blame for their lacklustre performance to the
Why was the Indian Army taken by surprise in the Kargil
heights? What was the surprise about? How did it happen?
The army was in the habit of withdrawing from the Line of
Control in the Kargil area every winter and returning to its posts
after the onset of spring. Thus, the LoC used to remain unprotected
throughout the winter.
advantage of this after General Pervez Musharraf became chief of the
army staff in October 1998. During the winter of 1998-1999, he sent
his troops across the LoC and occupied the heights left unguarded by
the Indian Army.
To put it in simple words, General Malik's contention is that
the Indian intelligence should have come to know of the intentions
and plans of the
army. According to him, it was not aware of the full extent of the
increase in Pakistani army deployments and movements across the LoC,
which would have preceded the Pakistani army's foray into our
territory during the winter.
The fact of the matter is that as early as June 1998, even
before Musharraf had taken over as the COAS, Shyamal Dutta, the then
director of the Intelligence Bureau, had sent a detailed wake-up
call to the prime minister, army headquarters and others, warning of
the training of large numbers of Pakistani irregulars across the
He also reported that increased Pakistani military activity
had been noticed along the LoC in the Kargil sector. In July 1998,
the IB further reported new mine-laying and other ominous activities
Pakistan army. R&AW reported the induction of new Pakistani units
into the area. It also warned that the Pakistani troops were being
given special training.
What would an alert army chief have done in the light of
He would have asked for an assessment from his officers as to
what these activities could mean.
He would have requested the Joint Intelligence Committee, JIC,
for an assessment on the likely implications of these activities.
He would have referred the JIC's assessment to the defence
minister and the Cabinet Committee on Security and recommended that
in view of these activities it would not be advisable for the army
to withdraw from the LOC during the winter and leave the heights
He would have requested the government for the urgent
sanction of the funds required for equipping the army units
concerned to enable them to stay put where they were even during the
Did he do any of those things? No.
As a professional officer heading the Army, it was his
responsibility to have warned the government of the various likely
scenarios in the light of the intelligence reports and advised on
action to be taken. He failed to do this.
And when after the onset of spring his troops, while
returning to their posts found the Pakistanis ensconced there, he
blamed the intelligence agencies for not warning him that the
Pakistanis intended to do this. It is like a houseowner blaming the
police for not cautioning him that if he left his house open and
unguarded, thieves might enter.
Months later, during a one-to-one meeting with Kao to discuss
the report of the Kargil Review Committee headed by K Subrahmanyam
over which Kao had expressed his misgivings, A B Vajpayee, the then
prime minister, asked him for his considered opinion as to why the
Kargil conflict happened.
Kao told me that he replied to Vajpayee as follows: "Sir,
General Malik went into a happy sleep during the winter. He is now
blaming the intelligence agencies for not preventing him from
It was alleged that an army brigadier posted in the Kargil
area, who had also warned General Malik of likely Pakistani
intentions and moves, was sought to be intimidated into silence by
General Malik through a departmental enquiry when he tried to go to
the media with his story.
It was also alleged that a distinguished journalist was
sought to be blacklisted and denied access to army headquarters when
in one of his articles he pointed out that there were no Pakistani
intrusions in the areas where the Border Security Force was deployed
because it did not withdraw its men from the LoC during the winter,
despite being ill-equipped to meet the rigours of the cold.
During his tenure as COAS, General Malik sought to
marginalise the role of the JIC and make the COAS not only the czar
of the armed forces, but also of the Aviation Research Centre, the
Special Frontier Force and all technical intelligence capabilities.
The Special Task Force for the Revamping of the Intelligence
Apparatus, which the Vajpayee government had set up after the Kargil
conflict, had asked the National Security Council Secretariat, NSCS,
to prepare a statement of inputs received by the JIC and its
successor the NSCS from the intelligence agencies during the months
before the conflict.
Its statement showed that the largest number of inputs came
from R&AW, followed by the IB. There were hardly any inputs from the
Directorate General of Military Intelligence, DGMI.
The Task Force asked a senior officer of the Army why the
Army had stopped sharing with the JIC and other agencies the
military intelligence collected by it. It was taken by surprise when
he replied that since the army was the end-user of all military
intelligence, it did not have to share with others the military
intelligence collected by it.
During the testimonies before the Task Force, the army sought
to damn the performance of the civilian agencies. The air force and
the navy were more objective and balanced and highlighted the good
as well as the bad points.
The efforts of General Malik to get control of the ARC, the
SFF and the TECHINT capabilities of R&AW failed partly due to strong
opposition from the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy to his
demands and partly due to his failure to convince the Task Force of
the need for such action.
The Task Force had the benefit of a detailed presentation by
some senior officers of the army on the performance of the civilian
intelligence agencies before and during the Kargil conflict.
In an attempt to buttress General Malik's demand for the
transfer of the ARC to the control of the army, one of the officers
strongly criticised its performance. The Task Force confronted him
with a copy of a letter which General Malik had written to Arvind
Dave, the then chief of R&AW, after the war was over praising the
After brief consultations with his colleagues, the officer
replied: 'That is one of the routine letters of appreciation which
the chief writes to everybody after a war is over. It does not mean
anything.' That was the attitude of General Malik and his officers
to the intelligence agencies.
In other countries of the world, whenever an enquiry is
ordered into military allegations of an intelligence failure, the
enquiry committee has a representative of the intelligence agencies
to ensure that the committee, in its deliberations, is fair to the
KRC had no representative of the intelligence community. The
Committee showed an incorrect eagerness to protect General Malik
from any blemish despite indications which did not reflect well on
the way General Malik had handled the situation in the days before
his visit to Poland, when worrisome reports regarding the extent and
the nature of the Pakistani intrusions started flowing in from his
General Malik allegedly created a messy situation for
himself, but he came out of it with a brilliant victory. Why blame
him for creating the messy situation in the first instance, when he
and his men had won a brilliant victory in the end at a tremendous
sacrifice? That seems to have been the attitude of the
They put the blame on the intelligence agencies for whatever
had gone wrong and whitewashed the sins of commission and omission
of General Malik.
Our civilian intelligence agencies are not perfect. They have
many inadequacies. They were found wanting on many occasions. I have
myself drawn attention to these in many of my articles.
Despite this, I still retain, 12 years after my retirement,
many friends and well-wishers in the intelligence community because
I try to be scrupulously fair in my criticism. I was known for my
fairness while I was in service. I am known for my fairness even
Unfortunately, General Malik was not known for his fairness
while he was in service. He was perceived by many in the community
of senior government servants and national security managers as a
compulsive fault-finder and scapegoat-seeker. Even six years after
his retirement, he has not changed. That is evident from his book.
One person who is completely in the picture on the
performance of the intelligence agencies is the prime minister of
the day. One person totally in the picture regarding their
performance in the collection of military intelligence is the
A B Vajpayee, the prime minister at the time of the Kargil
conflict, and George Fernandes, the defence minister, both denied
allegations of intelligence failure immediately after the war was
Whom should we believe -- Vajpayee and Fernandes or General