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Passing ground level intelligence to higher levels is the key: former RAW head PKH Tharakan

IBNLive.com
Feb 22, 2013 at 06:04pm IST

Are India's Intelligence capabilities grossly inadequate? Former Head of RAW PKH Tharakan joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Do you agree that in India, there is no value for common man's life, if we can't install CCTV properly,is it not rubbish to talk about intelligence report if on ground there is no followup? Asked by: purushottam

Passing ground level intelligence to higher levels is the key: former RAW head PKH Tharakan

Are India's Intelligence capabilities grossly inadequate?

A. We really do not know the nature of intelligence which was available. Obviously, it was not specific about Hyderabad.

Q. I think they are doing a commendable job, even if they had information that blast will take place in Hyderabad, it is only a probability that you can prevent. People have to be made an important tool in information gathering...this is missing. Asked by: S ESHWAR

A. This is very true. People are the most important cog in the wheel. This is why community Policing in which the Police interacts regularly with the community has to be given the utmost importance.

Q. Is the intelligence machinery "head-strong" only, whereas the real need is for it to be strong at grassroot levels where actual intelligence collection happens? Or is it that intelligence information assimilation and distribution an area of concern? Perhaps a bit of both? And to what degree is the intelligence apparatus misused for political reasons? Asked by: Tyagaraju

A. Grassroots collection of intelligence is required. The mechanism for mopping up information from the grassroots and passing it on to the highest level still seems wanting at least in some States.

Q. It seems a shame that we have established very good relations with German and Israel, but never been unable to get their methods of information gathering and assimilation? Asked by: EMathew

A. Germany and Israel in particular have suffered at the hands of terrorists despite having good systems of intelligence

Q. It has been revealed in the news that 4 terrorists have been confirmed entering into India before the blast at Hyderabad. If the Intelligence had this information, what was being done to prevent any kind of unfortunate events? Asked by: Karthik

A. I wonder if such specific information was available. Very often, such inputs come in, but there is no way the reliability of such inputs can be assessed. This makes it a difficult task for security services to act on such inputs.

Q. Since we are being targeted at again and again, my next question to you would be on the credibility of RAW and IB. What is the current infrastructure that RAW and IB have? Are they even on par with those of FBI, SWAT? What are the efforts being made to track the movements of the operatives within and outside India? Asked by: Karthik

A. RAW and IB have good infrastructure and many competent officers. This does not mean that the systems are perfect. Our intelligence agencies are regularly consulted by the agencies of other countries in the field of terrorism. However, the fight against terrorism is a continuing one, and as in any war, there are ups and downs.

Q. Don't you think its time we restart cells shut by late PM Gujral and go after D-gang with renewed vigor. also there is need for a agency to collate and coordinate information gathering between RAW, IB and importantly stop the game of One-upmanship between them. Asked by: Joydeep Ghosh

A. I agree that co-ordination continues to be a major challenge. Some reports this morning said Delhi Police had information that Indian Mujahideen (IM) had recceed Dilsukhnagar in 2011. In that case, was the information shared with Hyderabad Police? That is a pertinent question. Proposed NCTC would be useful in this context.

Q. Sir, We as a country have failed time and again. After WTC, USA did not face even one attack on its soil, but we continue to be battered and trashed by terrorists. Why is that? Best regards. Asked by: Ganga Hegde.

A. The price that USA paid for not having any attacks on its soil was very high. Look at the soldiers who died in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. The terrorists who attacked Mumbai made use of an American citizen to kill not only Indians but six American citizens in Mumbai. Ironically, there is reason to believe that the Headley had worked for American intelligence agencies. I am saying this not to question their competence, but to show that despite best efforts, there can be setbacks.

Q. What do you think 3 important steps to be taken for improving the functioning of Intelligence agencies? Asked by: Biju Mathew

A. Perfect the mechanism to mop up ground level intelligence and pass it on to highest levels, perfect the system of intelligence co-ordination and encourage intelligence analysis and analysts - their task is less sexy than those of the operatives, but more important.

Q. Don't you think that more than deficiencies in intelligence gathering capabilities, it is the sheer indifference & lack of accountability amongst senior police officers that is the core problem? For instance, the CCTV cameras at the Hyderabad blast site were not even functioning!What were the top cops doing? Sleeping in front of the CCTV monitors in police control room? Are the IPS officers who are amongst the most privileged public servants given adequate training in crime prevention? Asked by: deepak gogoi

A. It is certainly a pity if the CCTV cameras were not working. Responsibility needs to be fixed for the lapse, if the reports are true. But there are places where CCTV cameras and much else are working properly. When people, including IPS officers do their jobs properly, it does not make news. Which is how it should be.

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