By Sumit Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Dec 25 (IANS) The Indian government has given its domestic intelligence, internal security and counter-intelligence agency — the Intelligence Bureau (IB) — a bigger role to play in the two neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Mayanmar. Accordingly, the government has designated IB’s Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) as the nodal point for sharing intelligence inputs with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
This was disclosed in a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by Congress’ Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, on the ‘Demands for Grants’ of the Ministry of Home Affairs placed in the Parliament on December 21.
“In this capacity, inputs on terrorism are regularly shared with the counterparts in these countries,” the report stated.
The IB is currently headed by 1984-batch IPS Officer Arvind Kumar.
Generally, India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), deals with intelligence affairs in foreign nations.
The MAC was created in December 2001 in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict as a platform to share, collate and analyse all intelligence relating to terrorism
It was strengthened in December 2008 following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. The forum, along with its Subsidiary MAC (SMAC) units in all the states, has emerged as the nationally recognised coordinating agency for intelligence on terrorism and insurgency.
A dedicated, secure electronic network for real-time information sharing has been extended across the country.
“The MAC has established a comprehensive system of communication and connectivity to share/disseminate terrorism related information/data,” the report stated.
On an average, every day the MAC gathers, collates, stores, shares and disseminates about 150 inputs to the concerned agencies. Special alerts are also issued as and when called for.
The inputs are broadly divided under four heads – Jammu and Kashmir, Northeast, Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and rest of India. The LWE related inputs form the largest proportion of the total inputs received by the MAC currently, reflecting the spread of the problem across several states.
Various meetings are held regularly across the country to bring together all the concerned agencies. A meeting of the nodal officers from each member agency of the MAC is held every day at the MAC headquarters to review the inputs.
The MAC also conducts some specialised meetings, monthly meeting on cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and monthly meeting on insurgent camps, FICN and other anti-India activities in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The fortnightly meeting on LWE was introduced in 2012 and the monthly meeting on Sikh militancy in Punjab started in 2015.
“24×7 control rooms have been set up at the MAC headquarters in New Delhi and at the SMACs at the state level and at the headquarters of the intelligence wings of other agencies to ensure timely sharing of information and better coordination between intelligence agencies,” the report stated.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at email@example.com)
By Sumit Kumar Singh