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Govt gets its blueprint for revamp of intelligence

Creation of national database,centres to tone up intelligence sharing and gathering,a counter-intelligence centre are among many recommendations that will shortly get a look-in by Cabinet Committee on Security.

Written by Ritu Sarin | New Delhi |
June 2, 2009 8:55:42 am

Creation of a national database,centres to tone up intelligence sharing and gathering,a counter-intelligence centre,10-15 per cent increase in staff strength of intelligence agencies,re-employment of retired officials are among the many recommendations that will shortly get a look-in by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) when it takes up three reports on revamping internal security and the intelligence apparatus,including a 100-page report on the intelligence mechanism submitted to the National Security Advisor last month.

NSA M K Narayanan,back on the job after the return of the UPA,is all for “immediate implementation” of many of the recommendations by a task force which he believes is the most crucial examination of the intelligence infrastructure and its deficiencies since the last exercise in 2000 after the Kargil conflict.

The intelligence task force,which worked quietly in the National Security Council (NSC),was headed by S D Pradhan,former chief of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). The task force was constituted in the wake of the September 2007 Delhi blasts but two other experts — former Intelligence Bureau chief P C Haldar and aerospace scientist Roddam Narasimha — joined the team as consultants a few months ago.

Pradhan told The Indian Express that the intelligence review was prepared after a countrywide spot-examination of intelligence-gathering facilities in states and examination of detailed presentations by all intelligence agencies.

“What is needed is an aggressive timeline for implementation of the recommendations given the urgency for upgrading and improving intelligence-gathering mechanisms and assessment-making capabilities to anticipate actions of our adversaries,” Pradhan said.

The task force on intelligence has divided its findings into five segments with a separate set of recommendations as well as enabling initiatives for each:

•Radical suggestions for improving technical intelligence (techint) and human intelligence (humint) facilities.

•n Blueprint for improving analytical capabilities of intelligence agencies and operatives and setting up an exclusive training institute.

•n Roadmap for revamping intelligence-sharing network with an emphasis on setting up state multi agency centres (SMACs).

•Establishment of at least three new specialised intelligence-gathering centres — one under the IB and the other two under the NSC.

•n Plan for revamping procurement procedures for intelligence agencies; introduction of an oversight and management mechanism to be supervised by members of the National Intelligence Board (NIB).

The task force is understood to have suggested steps like re-employment of able-bodied retired intelligence and military officials for filling up 6,000 vacancies as well as increasing the strength of agencies like the IB,RAW and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) by 10-15%. A proposal has been made for almost doubling the existing strength of informers recruited by these agencies as also for enhancement of amounts paid to them from Secret Service funds.

The NTRO has been named by the task force as the agency most suited for creating a national database by merging databases maintained by agencies like the railways,civil aviation,immigration,national crime record bureau and police agencies.

Other key proposals include:

•Establishment of a new counter-intelligence centre under the IB with officers on deputation from other agencies such as RAW,DRI,MI and FIU.

•Creation of a new centre for nuclear and missile intelligence with representation from IB,RAW,DAE and state police units.

•Empowered monitoring committee headed by NSA should fast-track major acquisitions.

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