Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Intelligence Infrastructure Of India Is in Big Mess

Praveen Dalal
Intelligence Gathering and its timely Analysis and Utilisation are the bench mark of any good and effective Intelligence Infrastructure. When the terrorists attacked Mumbai recently, lack of Intelligence Sharing proved fatal.

Although Intelligence Inputs were available, they were not shared and made available in a timely manner. In other words, although Intelligence Agencies did no fail yet Intelligence Infrastructure failed to act in a timely manner. This happened for a simple reason that we have good Intelligence Agencies but we have a very bad Intelligence Infrastructure.

Intelligence Infrastructure of India needs streamlining. There are numerous Intelligence Agencies operating in India. However, there is no “Centralised Command” for the same. This results in an anomaly as there is no single authority to whom all of them can report and share their intelligence and other inputs.

The worst part is that the acts and omissions of these Intelligence Agencies are not governed by any Legal Framework. Parliamentary Scrutiny of Intelligence Agencies in general and Intelligence Infrastructure in particular are absolutely missing.

The example of the former is lack of Legal Framework for Intelligence Agencies and Law Enforcement Agencies of India. The example of the latter is absence of Legal Framework for Projects like Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Central Monitoring System (CMS), Aadhar/UID Project, etc.

CCTNS links up all of India's Police Stations and NATGRID would connect 21 sets of available databases for instant analysis and results. The “Biometric Details” obtained by Aadhar Project would be added to this list.

In short, the Intelligence Agencies and Intelligence Infrastructure of India have no clear cut direction, guidance and control. Time has come to create a good and effective “Intelligence Infrastructure” in India. We have already recommended that a “Centralised ICT Control System” (CICS) must be established by the Home Ministry of India under the guidance of Mr. P.Chidambaram.

If there are numerous Intelligence Agencies working for different Government Ministries/Departments, there is a possibility of “Lack of Coordination” and “Inadequate and Inappropriate Information Sharing”. Nothing can be more beneficial than a “Centralised ICT Control Centre” for the Indian National and Internal Security.

In fact, Mr. P.Chidambaram has already expressed his desire to establish a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) that would act as an “Umbrella Organisation” for all Intelligence Agencies. It may also be considered as a “Centralised ICT Control System” and Home Minister must work really hard to establish NCTC as soon as possible.