High Time for National Intelligence Coordinator, Says Pallam Raju

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  1. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

    Jun 29, 2009
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    High Time for National Intelligence Coordinator, Says Pallam Raju

    PIB Press Release

    The Minister of State for Defence Shri M.M. Pallam Raju has called for synergy among the plethora of intelligence agencies to prevent another 26/11-Mumbai-like terror attack. Inaugurating a two-day seminar on ‘Network Centricity and National Security’ here today, Shri Pallam Raju said the time has come to create a post of National Intelligence Coordinator.

    Noting that the terrorists are acquiring lethal weapons and changing tactics, Shri Pallam Raju said that our Defence and Paramilitary Forces need to be prepared to give a strategic response to tackle sub-conventional warfare and small focused insurgent missions. Cautioning against the dangers of turning Indian Forces into an equipment-centric force like the US, Shri Pallam Raju said that we must however ensure that our soldiers match the capacity of the adversary.

    Following is the extract of Shri Pallam Raju’s address to the seminar: -

    “I am pleased to address you at the Seminar ‘Network Centricity in Homeland Security.’ I am delighted that the Directorate General of Information Systems (DGIS), Indian Army, the United Service Institute (USI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry have come together to organize a seminar on this very timely issue.

    India aspires to attain a ‘Developed’ nation status in the near future. It has been experiencing a sustained high economic growth rates for about a decade and is being projected as an emerging economic giant. On the political and strategic front as well, it has made its presence felt globally. It seems that the world is ready to bestow it the rightful place and is even willing to re-structure the decade old treaties to accommodate India’s interests. But the momentum of this growth and recognition would largely depend on how successfully India is able to maintain and preserve its internal security. The rapidly developing political, economic and military strength of India, is unfortunately supported by a fragile internal security scenario, and could become a significant factor for instability in the region and in the world.

    Over time, the very nature and diversity of the integral constituents of India’s internal security have broadened and acquired multifaceted dimensions. It encompasses threats from a mixed hue of separatist, ethnic and terrorist violence; challenges pertaining to infiltration and sponsorship of terrorism from across the borders; subversive activities of some groups/individuals within the country; threats to security of individuals and vital installations and services; and, transnational crimes relating to drug trafficking, smuggling of arms, fake currency, etc. Since many of the internal problems have external linkages, the line between the internal and external threats has become blurred.

    Indian Government has been making a continuous effort to enhance its preparedness to counter the various security threats. A number of important initiatives have been undertaken to strengthen the security apparatus in the country. With the changed nature of crime and security threats, it is being increasingly realized that technology and equipment would play a crucial role in the strengthening the capabilities of the security forces.

    There are various components to enhancing internal security. New centers for rapid response are being set up in key cities all over the country. Equipment and weapons systems are being upgraded. Security parameters are being established. Critical infrastructure and industrial centres will receive special protection. Capabilities of our military, intelligence and paramilitary staff are being enhanced.

    The entire endeavour requires a new infrastructure of defence equipment and systems involving substantial expenditures. This would include outlays on protecting our borders, as well as securing critical infrastructure such as airports, mass transport, Highways, sea borders, etc.

    It cannot be overstated that the task ahead is formidable. Our defence forces and paramilitary forces are underequipped, inadequately trained and improperly supported. Armaments and munitions, state-of-the-art equipment, and support systems in telecommunications, surveillance and other areas are needed. On the other hand, the terrorists, militants and insurgents are able to acquire advanced weapons and communication equipment. Their methods of warfare are becoming more sophisticated, more complex and more systematically planned. Their objectives are becoming more ambitious, with the intention of inflicting maximum damage. The increased range and lethality of weapons as well as changed tactics and small focused insurgent missions will need strategic response from our defence and paramilitary forces.

    In order to counter the growing threat, India needs to work on a number of fronts simultaneously. Leveraging emerging technologies is one of the critical aspects in this area. The world has made rapid strides in technology development in conducting warfare as well as in communications and transport. India has evident capacities in information technology and engineering design in the private sector, through which it has been able to successfully capture the space of outsourcing and software services.

    It now needs to deploy these same capabilities in the armed forces as well. This will require a close partnership of the civil industry and defence industries. The government has stated its intention to source defence equipment indigenously up to the extent of 70%. Although this target is far from being met, we are committed to strengthening our civil industry capacities in order to be able to meet defence production requirements as well.

    Network centricity assumes significance in the light of increasing data management requirements for identifying and eliminating threats. Decision-making can be faster with the help of reliable real-time data. A range of equipment is needed to enhance India’s capabilities in this field, including sensors, access control technologies, detectors, monitors, and force protection technologies. The private sector can be a valuable partner in supplying relevant equipment and technologies.

    I am aware that defence being a single consumer and owing to the level of confidentiality that has to be maintained, it has been difficult for civil industry to meet the requirements of defence. There is a high degree of business risk attached to the production of goods for defence purposes. However, there are a number of areas where civil industry and defence production facilities under the government can cooperate for developing new products that are of use to both sides.

    There is need to think out of the box to strengthen civil and defence industry partnerships. While we must be careful not to be an equipment-centric force, we must ensure that each one of our soldiers at the sub-conventional level can match the capacities of the opponents. For example, there is need to equip our forces with night vision, light and lethal weapons, appropriate clothing and other equipment. Our communications strategies must encompass transmission of data, video and audio in real time. Sufficient attention to range, encryption, and protection against counter attacks must be given.

    There are significant opportunities for private industry to partner in the homeland security and sub-conventional warfare space. The allocation for India’s homeland security agencies was increased by 25 percent in the budget 2009-2010. Paramilitary forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs include about 1 million personnel and have a budget of Rs 21, 634.15 Crore (USD 4.3 billion) for the year 2009-10. The equipment and training of all these must be upgraded and modernized in order to have an effective counter-insurgency internal security force.

    Strengthening and Streamlining the Intelligence Gathering and Dissemination Structures, Processes and Mechanisms would be central to countering external and internal threats. The Government have taken steps for toning up the intelligence collection capability by strengthening the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) headed by the Intelligence Bureau, which had been set up as recommended by the Special Task Force (headed by G.C.Saxena, former head of the R&AW and Governor of J&K, in 2000) for the revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus. The Home Ministry have taken action to address the staff and resource constraints faced by the MAC.

    While these measures would result in short-term improvements in the functioning of the intelligence machinery, there is a need to think strategically of medium and long-term measures. A number of intelligence agencies are operating at the state and national level. Besides these the Defence Forces, State Police, Central Police Organizations, Para Military Forces have their own intelligence network and set up. There is a requirement to institute a mechanism to centrally feed in and coordinate the intelligence inputs analyze the same and disseminate it in real time to the end user. This set up could be instituted at the state level and replicated at the national level. The time has come to create a post of National Intelligence Co-ordinator to handle the task of co-ordination on a full-time basis.

    The key facet of the cooperation between civil and defence industry is communication. I am delighted that CII is partnering with the defence forces and institutions such as USI for bringing the opportunities in defence production to industry heads. This will alleviate many of the misconceptions and help build a culture of indigenous development and production in civil industry.

    I urge CII to continue its endeavours in assisting defence and paramilitary forces in equipment provision. Seminars such as this one will help in bringing industrial opportunities to light for the general populace.

    Above all, such seminars will help

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