India: Under Intelligence Assault

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by arnabmit, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Under Intelligence Assault - The New Indian Express

    Reading Pakistani newspapers, one doesn’t get the impression that Indian spy agencies are involved in Pakistan. Sure, there are accusations that India’s external intelligence, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), is supporting the Pakistani Taliban and secular Balochi rebels, but the nature of these allegations is essentially political and rhetorical. On the contrary, it appears that the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, has established footprints across India. Its presence is proven from a number of arrests of ISI agents across the country.

    If you search the websites of Indian newspapers, there is a regular stream of stories being published that indicate the ISI is active throughout the country. Looking back over the past decade, ISI agents were arrested from towns across India: Ahmedabad, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Mumbai, Delhi, Mohali, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Patiala, Jalandhar, Shimla, Aligarh, Meerut, Kanpur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Patna, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Agartala, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Chennai, and so on. To be fair to domestic intelligence agencies, ISI modules were also routinely disrupted, as the arrests in these cities would signify.

    The ISI agents are of mainly two types: those engaged in gathering secret information of military nature, and those involved in recruiting and planning terror modules. Some are also involved in flooding the country with fake currency notes. In July 2013, it was also revealed that senior officers in the Lucknow passport office, who were bribed between `50,000 and `500,000 per person, issued passports to at least 50 suspected ISI agents. Sometimes, ISI spies acquired voter and ration cards. The ISI’s boldest move was to recruit Madhuri Gupta, a female diplomat posted in the Indian mission in Islamabad who was brought to Delhi and prosecuted.

    Let’s take a random sample of ISI agents arrested last year. In May, airports in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mangalore, Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram were put on alert over terror threats. Earlier, Sri Lankan national Shakir Hussain was arrested for being part of a terror plot to bomb US and Israeli consulates in southern India. The plot was traced to a Pakistani diplomat in Colombo. In September, ISI agent Arun Selvarajan was held in Chennai and vital documents regarding the coast guards were seized. He, too, was connected to a Pakistani handler in Colombo. Selvarajan reportedly had carried out a reconnaissance of the Kalapakkam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. These arrests indicate the ISI’s growing focus on southern India.

    However, the ISI’s main sphere of influence seem to be the western, northern and northeastern regions where suspected agents are routinely arrested. In March 2014, Lovedeep Singh, an army clerk in Faridkot, was arrested by police over the charges of spying for the ISI and photographs of restricted areas and sketches of military installations were seized. In May, B K Sinha, an army clerk in Jaipur, was held on the charge of sharing secret information with an ISI agent in Nepal. It is troubling that a retired army officer helped to recruit Sinha.

    In August, police in Meerut district arrested Asif Ali for passing information about the army to ISI. Based on Ali’s revelations, army jawan Suneet Kumar was arrested. Suneet was given a laptop that was connected to an ISI operative in Karachi. In this case, too, it seems a retired army official helped to recruit Suneet, who “had befriended a girl on Facebook through a childhood friend…whose father had served in the army”. In September, Sarda Shankar Kushwaha, an ISI operative wanted in terror-related cases, was arrested from the Nepal border in Bihar. Rattandeep Singh, who was recruited by the ISI to head the Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan, was arrested near Gorakhpur town in September.

    In his 2000 book Pakistan’s ISI: Network of Terror in India, senior cop S K Ghosh examined the revelations of the arrested ISI agents and noted that the ISI’s strategy involved the following: Use Kashmiri Muslims and cause subversion and terrorism across India, prepare an extensive ISI network and plant cadre of terrorists and spies in every part of India, trigger serial blasts in major cities, create insurgencies in parts of India where Muslim population is significant, and create newer fronts in Pakistan’s proxy war against India. Speaking of the 1993 Bombay blasts, Ghosh observed these were “not a Hindu-Muslim problem. It was an India-Pakistan problem”. The issue of Islamic terrorism in India can be entirely attributed to the ISI.

    Fresh revelations in the 26/11 case indicate that intelligence agencies of the US, UK and India possessed information that could have helped prevent the attack on Mumbai. In the 9/11 case, not sharing of information held by different US security agencies turned out to be the main catalyst for the attack. Both these cases illustrate that active defence is essential for homeland security. However, India’s celebrated pluralism and coexistence mean that Indians learn to live with all kind of malaise: we have coexisted with Naxalite terrorists for more than half a century, though it appears that due to hatred of Muslims we are more alert to the threat of Islamic terrorism. The ISI’s activities across India have persisted for several decades.

    Before the World War I, Britain was infested by German spies. Vernon Kell, who began work in 1909 as the first head of MI5, worked with limited resources, unable to recruit an assistant for himself. “The keys to Kell’s pre-war counter-espionage strategy,” notes Christopher Andrew in his book The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5, were “securing the co-operation of the police, using the Home Office Warrant system… establishing a state-of-the-art database… [which are] still central to Service operations in the twenty-first century.” Andrew observes that Kell “succeeded, with police assistance, in rounding up all the German spies of any significance, thus depriving the enemy of advance warning”.

    Most of the times, the intelligence agencies’ contribution is not recognised because of the things that do not happen as a result of their successful work. However, let’s hope that the ISI activities do not become part of India’s celebrated pluralism.

    The author is director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC.
  3. Kharavela

    Kharavela Regular Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Odisha, India
    West Bengal has become the hub of ISI activities with the active/passive help of state administration & TMC.
    Ankit Purohit likes this.
  4. dastan

    dastan Regular Member

    Sep 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    And whatever assets we had were dismantled! Hall gujral!

Share This Page