The Role of Intelligence In India’s National Security

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What is the main purpose of National Security?

In the world of governance, we have used the word “security” so much so that it has become a part of our vocabulary. But what exactly is the context of “security’ in this article? After Independence, India embarked on an ambitious journey to safeguard national interests. The nation wanted to validate they have the right resources and structure to hire right people to fill the positions, which required a certain kind of intelligence.

Intelligence in the Indian subcontinent is divided into military, civilian, foreign and domestic intelligence. All the above agencies require intelligence to stay ahead of threats and build up momentum for future succession. Though these agencies are independent of each other, they do tend to overlap in their functions, either by design or as a natural consequence of their activities.

The pivotal role of establishing the smooth functioning of the government and maintaining its international relations is accomplished by these prime agencies: –

  • INTELLIGENCE BUREAU(IB): – IB is the main intelligence agency in India responsible for national security and prevent any terror attacks while also running counter-espionage operations within the borders of the country and assessing sensitive areas like Jammu & Kashmir, North East Region, etc.
  • RESEARCH & ANALYSIS WING (RAW):- R&AW is responsible for gathering foreign intelligence from areas of interest for the Indian government, counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation and advancing India’s foreign strategic interests. R&AW collects intelligence via HUMINT (human intelligence), psychological warfare, sabotage and assassinations.
  • DIRECTORATE OF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE (M.I):- M.I was initially tasked with generating only tactical or field intelligence in all countries bordering India. These limits were quickly crossed in the mid-1990s to provide timely, relevant and synchronized intelligence support to tactical, operational and strategic-level needs of the Indian Army.
  • NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL(NSC) of India: – NSC is a three-tiered organization that oversees political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern. This council undertakes India’s strategic defense review to study and analyze the security environment and make appropriate recommendations to cover all aspects of defense requirements and organizations.

Together these agencies are at the core of many security risk management programs. However, the evolution of intelligence agencies of India is chequered, with instances of good intentions being poorly executed. Moreover, much of the challenges emanates from the fact that these agencies have failed to grapple with the impacts of internet-based technologies. The challenge is for India to finally muster a vision for the development of credible technology and intricate security industry.

For instance, creating an R&D lab focused on SIGINT(signal intelligence) within a leading engineering university, increasing the budget on science and innovation projects facilitating the rise of Small & Medium Enterprises and startups to develop and nurture a technology-centric intelligence cadre. Substantial reforms are needed to boost the collection, processing and dissemination of intelligence on real-time basis. It will depend on government officials at all levels, the private sector and the universities working together to develop new forms of cooperation designed for agility, speed and resilience.

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