With the Congress endorsing the idea, security experts have again started rooting for a federal investigative agency to generate intelligence to pre-empt terror attacks in the region.
The current situation is that of an ageing intelligence force that functions on a system of ‘reactive intelligence’ and operates on antiquated methodologies and technologies, while terrorist cadres have a youthful and tech-savvy profile, said an official.
Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari expressed support for the federal agency proposal on Wednesday. A political consensus and a change of mindset was required, he had said, while regretting that such a consensus had not come about till now. The BJP has called for an upgrade of intelligence agencies and the enactment of a POTA-type law as part of its six-point prescription for tackling terror.
Several agencies exist at the moment the Research and Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Economic Intelligence Bureau, and Military Intelligence directorates of the three services. The BSF has its G-Branch, while other para-military outfits, including the ITBP and CRPF, are also planning to set up intelligence units. There also exist about a dozen center-state police committees meant to ensure better coordination.
“These agencies have multiple functions, but the need of the hour is to have a dedicated organisation to generate top class intelligence information about the terror network,” former IB joint director M.K. Dhar said.
Executive director of strategic think-tank Ajai Sahni felt a more immediate need was to build the capacity of existing agencies. Against 250-500 policemen per 100,000 people in most Western countries, India has a 126 policemen per 1,00,000 people, he said. Only 3500 IB officials are deployed in active information gathering, he informed.