Since 1947, India has had four reviews of its intelligence capabilities.
The first was after the Sino-Indian military conflict of 1962 in which the Indian Army did badly. The review led to two conclusions. Firstly, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which was then responsible for the collection of internal and external intelligence, had serious deficiencies in its capabilities for the collection, analysis and assessment of intelligence regarding China in general and Chinese-occupied Tibet in particular. Secondly, its capabilities in this regard had to be strengthened quickly and this would not be possible without the assistance of the intelligence agencies of the US and the UK.
Among the follow-up measures taken were building a cadre of Chinese linguists on a crash basis in order to be able to collect, collate, analyse and assess open source intelligence, expanding the IB’s network of Forward Intelligence Posts (FIPs) on the Tibetan order and Foreign Intelligence Posts in South-East and East Asia for collecting human intelligence and strengthening the IB’s capability for the collection of technical intelligence through ground stations for the interception of messages and air platforms for the collection of signals of various kinds and aerial photography.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), which was then responsible for the collection of internal and external intelligence, had serious deficiencies in its capabilities for the collection, analysis and assessment of intelligence regarding China in general and Chinese-occupied Tibet in particular.
The reservoir of linguists was built up without the need for any foreign assistance. Many young graduates and post-graduates were recruited and got trained in the foreign language schools of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and in a special school for teaching the Chinese language which had been set up after 1962. Those who did well in their language training were sent to places like Hong Kong for further improvement of their language skills.
Despite this, the IB was not in a position to provide a 100 per cent coverage of open source intelligence. This would have involved huge investments. In view of the limited resources available to the IB, it was decided to benefit from the open source intelligence collection capabilities of the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the UK’s external intelligence agency called the Secret Intelligence Service or the MI 6. The CIA and the MI 6 readily agreed to share with the IB the produce of their open source intelligence monitoring stations located in South-East and East Asia and Australia.
The strengthening of the FIPs on the Tibetan border and the Foreign Intelligence Posts was also done by the IB through its own limited human and financial resources without any external assistance. There was an increased intake of officers at the junior, middle and senior levels and they were got trained in the Central Police Training College at Mount Abu in Rajasthan followed by specialised training in the intelligence tradecraft in the IB’s own training school.
Foreign assistance was obtained from the intelligence agencies of the US and the UK for strengthening the IB’s capability for the collection of technical intelligence relating to China. It was felt that from the counter-intelligence point of view — that is, to prevent a possible penetration of the counter-intelligence set-up of the IB by the US and British agencies— it would not be advisable for the new technical intelligence capabilities created with US and British assistance to be located in the IB. These capabilities consisted essentially of ground-based monitoring stations for the collection of signal intelligence and air–based platforms for the collection of signals of various kinds and for aerial photography.
Foreign assistance was obtained from the intelligence agencies of the US and the UK for strengthening the IBs capability for the collection of technical intelligence relating to China.
It was decided to locate the new Techint capabilities acquired from the US and the UK in a new organization called the Directorate-General of Security (DGS), which would come under the over-all supervision of the Director of the IB, but would be administratively independent of the IB, with its own cadre of staff and its own budget. While the DGS exercised the responsibility for the collection of intelligence through ground stations, the responsibility for operating air platforms was given to an organization called the Aviation Research Centre (ARC), which was part of the DGS, but had a different administrative set-up.