Instances where state hesitated to share intelligence: IB Director to Parl panel

New Delhi (IANS) The Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has pointed out that there have been instances where some state agencies had hesitated to share their intelligence inputs with this multi-agency centre (MAC), the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Union Home Ministry Demand for Grants stated on Thursday. The Director also stated that they were setting up district level intelligence units across India.

"When asked about the state agencies bringing their Intelligence to the MAC, he responded that most of the States share their Intelligence inputs with the MAC because the matter pertains to the concerned State also. But, there have been few instances where some state agencies have hesitated to share their intelligence inputs with this MAC," the report tabled in the Rajya Sabha stated.

Intelligence Bureau is the premier intelligence organization mandated with the collection of intelligence on various security-related issues and providing intelligence inputs to police forces and other concerned agencies.

The panel observed that the contribution from the state agencies that have been made over the years is lower in the overall inputs that have been received at the MAC.

The panel enquired about the organization and functioning of the MAC and contribution of State agencies in providing intelligence inputs to the MAC.

The IB Director replied that the MAC is a very critical component of India's whole counter-terrorism grid and it has been functioning very well.

There is a MAC in Delhi and about 28 organizations are members of that Centre. Every organization which is in any way involved in the counter-terrorism effort is a member of this Centre. Then, all the states have a subsidiary multi-agency centre which is called SMAC. It is there in all state capitals and there also the representative components of all these 28 agencies are members. Their presence is there in that State capital as well.

Now, the Union Home Ministry along with IB is thinking of extending the connectivity of this SMAC to the district level. So, IB is picking up districts in a phased manner because there is an issue of connecting them with the lease line, encryptors and others.

Further, at the MAC level, the meeting of all these agencies is convened almost every day where Intelligence of the last 24 hours is brought on to the table, discussed and follow-up action is devised or agreed upon. In addition to that, there is a Focused Group Meeting at the MAC platform where specific information on a specific theatre is discussed and therefore only those agencies which are directly involved with that theatre are called and discussed.

Further, these meetings are held through video conferencing and connect all across the country.

In addition to the MAC platform, there is a weekly meeting, at the level of the National Security Advisor where intelligence and related issues of the past seven days are discussed.

Moreover, the IB has a quarterly conference with the Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) particularly for issues related to border areas. Apart from the above measures, some critical Intelligence is also developed in coordination with foreign associates.

The Committee notes that there are multiple agencies like IB, RAW, CAPFs, Army, and state agencies in India which are collecting the intelligence inputs. This may be necessary keeping in view the size and political structure of the country. The biggest challenge, however, is how to coordinate, create and act upon the inputs/information gathered by these agencies.

At times, due to lack of coordination, distrust amongst the intelligence agencies, timely action to prevent terrorist incidents could not be taken. Therefore, the Committee recommends that MHA should act as the focal point to coordinate amongst those intelligence agencies; device mechanism for collating intelligence inputs and sharing it on real-time basis through MAC to avoid any delay in taking necessary action on the ground level.

The committee further recommends for developing an effective mechanism to conduct validity checks on information obtained by the MAC from other agencies.

"As we are living in a globalised world which is inter-connected and inter-dependent, our intelligence agencies should strive for increased coordination and cooperation not only at District, State and Regional level but also at International level with friendly foreign counterparts in developing and sharing intelligence to mitigate and nullify threats," the report stated.

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