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Indian Intelligence Lacking

Indian Intelligence Lacking
Asiaweek: May 7, 1999

Rivalry among India's intelligence agencies is taking a toll on New Delhi's
foreign policy. Consider this incident involving Myanmar. Around the middle
of last year, the Indian navy, in two operations in the Andaman Sea,
intercepted arms shipments bound for Myanmar rebels that had traveled
through the port of Ranong in Thailand. 

The military discovered that the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) the
Indian equivalent of the CIA was facilitating the shipments. That
revelation was a major factor in the Dec. 30 sacking of Admiral Vishnu
Bhagwat, who confronted his civilian bosses with the findings. It was also
a blow to India's Foreign Ministry, which for nearly three years has been
trying to enhance relations with Yagon. Evidently, RAW hoped that arming
the Myanmar rebels would pressure Yangon's generals into keeping their
distance from Beijing, whose influence in the region is steadily
growing(see Editorial, page 14). 

The fiasco is an indicator of India's intelligence disarray. Other signs: A
Joint Intelligence Committee(JIC)set up in the 1970s to oversee
intelligence gathering and analysis had no executive leader for almost all
of last year. According to a senior naval officer, about 50% of the
information available to the JIC and intended for the armed forces is not
passed on to them.