A problem of plenty: The reason why intelligence in India is failing
In the month of April the Parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs stated in its report that there were deficiencies in the intelligence agencies. The report also stated that there was lack of analysis of the "failure of the intelligence agencies to provide credible and actionable inputs regarding the attacks at Pathankot, Uri, Pampore, Baramulla and Nagrota.
Let us examine the recent Sukma attack in which 25 CRPF personnel lost their lives. It was a horrific attack and what was very noticeable was that intelligence had failed on every count. Be it Kargil or the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, the focus post these incidents have been on the failure of intelligence.
Following the Kargil intrusion, the government felt the need to go in for a complete overhaul. The Intelligence Bureau was made the premier counter-terrorism agency. It was authorised to create a Multi Agency Centre of MAC which would be the intelligence-sharing centre in New Delhi.
In the year 2002, the Defence Intelligence Agency or the DIA was created. Its job was to collate and evaluate intelligence from other agencies in the services. The DIA is functional, but is not utilised in full. Moreover it continues to run without a chief.
Formation of the NTRO:
In 2004, the National Technical Research Organisation or the NTRO was set up. This led to a clash as it was given the job which was already being performed by the other intelligence agencies. Four years, the attacks in Mumbai took place and this led to the creation of the National Intelligence Agency. The National Security Guards also went ahead and set up regional hubs. The MAC was directed to better its coordination among the central and state agencies.
The then UPA government decided to spruce up the security mechanism. This led to the creation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre or NCTC and the National Intelligence Grid or NatGrid. The NCTC it may be recalled got entangled in tussle between the centre and the state. The states felt it amounted to central interference as law and order was a state subject as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
MAC continues to struggle
The NatGrid on the other hand never took off. It continues struggling to make ground. The Parliamentary committee rightly notes that there is no unified authority to coordinate the operations of these agencies and also ensure a quick response in times of crisis.
The functioning of the MAC too is nothing to tom-tom about. It derives most of its intelligence from the central units. The role of the state units is very limited. This is a clear pointer to the fact that the state intelligence units are extremely weak as a result of which they have no intelligence to share.
The Parliamentary committee goes on to note that the contribution from the state agencies was a meagre 11 per cent. The DIA contributed 24.05 per cent while the Research and Analysis Wing contributed 20.75 per cent.
Lack of direction:
Experts say all this clearly indicates that there is no clear direction. There is an overkill of intelligence agencies and no single driving force. Each agencies is doing its bit and there is no common intelligence pool. When an intelligence input is received it needs to fall urgently into a common pool.
The same would have to urgently be intimated to the police in the case the intelligence is actionable.
The big minds in the corridors of powers and policy making need to take urgent note of these facts and ensure that these agencies are put to best use. For a start a common driving force could be set up to ensure that there is some amount of sanctity and intelligence is not messed up.