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Bharath Kumar asked: May I know why Indian government is unable to reform the Intelligence infrastructure, the way institutions work,the way of recruiting, etc

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  • Rana Banerji replies: This query begs greater elaboration however to put its simply three conditions conspire to thwart reform: conflicting motivations in those considering it, environmental challenges at initiation and failures of leadership. Any quest for meaningful reform in the intelligence machinery would then necessarily bring up issues uncomfortable to the Intelligence Establishment in the country; such as whether it should remain the preserve of the Indian Police Service , whether recruitment and lateral intake policies should not be developed to take a look at the immense cross –cultural talent available – of political analysts, legal experts, linguists, financial wizards, social scientists , journalists and domain specialists who could be roped in to provide valued inputs based on acuity , ingenuity and contextualized insights of their own experience and wisdom ?

    For a world-class intelligence set-up to meet India ’s requirements as a global power, we need to equip our intelligence agencies to cope with these requirements. While the main role of intelligence collection will remain focused on collection of inputs (operations), compilation and assessment (analysis) but the kind of intelligence needed and the speed in obtaining it would be crucial. One of the questions that may need to be asked whether some of these requirements are better met or left to exclusive domain of Line Departments - e.g. Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) or Economic Offences Wing (EOW) under Ministry of Finance, Department of Science & Technology, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) ? Alternatively, if they want to attend to these tasks themselves, the question may well be posed whether their specialists have the requisite training or aptitude to handle this type of work?

    There is clearly, a growing perception in the media and amongst a widening spectrum of intellectuals and academics engaged in the study of national security related issues that a rigid and stodgy bureaucracy may have stood in the way of developing or enhancing desired core competence in the field of intelligence instead of using imaginative , unconventional approaches to fight against a natural inclination not to risk or gamble , yet equip and improve capacities to meet new threats as India copes with its emerging responsibilities as a global power.