Agenda of intelligence reforms in India

Ques. ‘India’s intelligence capabilities are not as low as rated’, but there is a need to bring all central agencies under one umbrella to ensure seamless integration in their operations, assessments and response’, While analysing the given statement highlight the intelligence reforms needed in India.

Intelligence Agencies play an important role in protecting National Security of a country. They help in maintaining Internal and External Security of a Nation. The very nature of their functioning and work requires some degree of Anonymity, Secrecy and Confidentiality. Unfortunately, Indian Intelligence Agencies have become synonymous to Non Accountability and Lack of Transparency.

The agenda of intelligence reforms in India should have three main priorities:

  • Activities of all major intelligence agencies should be founded on a legal basis. There should be a law or separate laws to specify the existence, functions and jurisdiction of all such organisations.
  • Legislation must provide a legal basis for different tiers of oversight and accountability of Intelligence agencies — executive, financial and legislative.
  • Recruitment to intelligence organisations must be made open to induct the best available talent, and also to cater to varied needs and different streams. At present, our agencies are primarily staffed by police officers on deputation. Officers from other All India Services are taken, but in a trickle. This system should be changed quickly. Separate, specialised written examinations for entry could be prescribed through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), with greater emphasis on subjects like international relations, history, economics and military strategy.

Indian intelligence overall needs to show greater aggressiveness in its approach towards safeguarding vital national interests. Intelligence reform cannot succeed unless it is dovetailed with police modernisation and both technological and human capabilities of State police personnel are upgraded. Early resolution of the impasse over legislation pertaining to a National counter-terror mechanism, which gives adequate teeth for rapid response without unduly raising apprehensions and treading on the toes of State political leadership, needs to be worked out on priority.

In the ultimate analysis, we should try to move toward an intelligence culture where risk taking and discretion can become second nature and personal ambition is eschewed for the greater national good.

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