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The success of the United States Intelligence Community is significantly influenced by its strategies and national security priorities. The cooperation of the Community with intelligence services in other countries all around the world encourages its effective performance and contributes to the country’s dominance on the international stage. In recent years, the military, economic, and intelligence partnership between the United States and India is strengthening. The purpose of this policy paper addressed to the National Security Council is to evaluate the benefits and risks of the intelligence partnership expansion between these countries.
Indian Intelligence Services
Surprisingly, there is not enough publicly known evidence concerning the operations of Indian intelligence services. However, the intelligence agencies of this country “have a long and rich history,” and a cultural tradition of espionage that was used for state security occurred in the ancient era (Shaffer, 2018, p. 598). The description of a highly significant and active role of intelligence in ancient India may be found in Vedic literature (Shaffer, 2018).
Contemporary intelligence agencies appeared during the colonial period, that is why they are among the oldest similar agencies in the world. At the present day, the expansion of the United States intelligence partnership is determined by the well-developed network of India’s intelligent services. The list of Indian intelligence agencies includes the Research and Analysis Wing, the Research Bureau, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, and many other services and agencies across the country.
The Research and Analysis Wing is an external intelligence agency of India that may be regarded as the most renowned one in comparison with other services. It was established in 1968 by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi following wars with Pakistan and China (Shaffer, 2018). While a prevalent number of the Indians are familiar with the United States intelligence agencies due to their popularization in cinema and media coverage, average citizens are not aware of their Research and Analysis Wing (Shaffer, 2015).
A lack of information concerning this organization is provided by the Indian government’s intentional campaign “to downplay and protect its intelligence agencies” (Shaffer, 2015, p. 252). The Research and Analysis Wing focuses on external activity and undertakes multiple missions in cooperation with separate departments, such as the Aviation Research Centre, the Special Security Bureau, and Special Frontier Force (Shaffer, 2015). They are responsible for the monitoring of Indian borders and operations beyond the country.
The Research Bureau is an intelligence agency that is occupied with India’s domestic security. Similar to the Research and Analysis Wing, its missions and main operations are security-restricted from the public. It was founded in 1887 as the Central Special Branch and renamed in 1920 (Shaffer, 2018). While the Research Bureau primarily served as “a colonial tool of repression,” after 1947, it worked as a post-colonial agency that was responsible for the protection of India’s independence (Shaffer, 2018, p. 598). Nowadays, the Research Bureau is regarded as the main service for the prevention of terrorist operations in the territory of the country.
Intelligence Community’s Goals and Objectives
The activity of the United States Intelligence Community is guided by certain goals and objectives that are reflected in the National Intelligence Strategy. The recent Strategy provides the Community for the next four years with goals, missions, and strategic direction specified by the Director of National Intelligence (National Intelligence Strategy, 2019). It supports national security strategies and priorities and underlines the significance of the Intelligence Community’s activities with the responsiveness to the Constitution, Congressional oversight requirements, and other applicable statutes and laws.
According to the National Intelligence Strategy (2019), “a Nation made more secure by a fully integrated, agile, resilient, and innovative Intelligence Community that exemplifies America’s values” (p. 3). The purpose of the Community is to provide insightful, objective, relevant, and timely support and intelligence to inform security decisions and protect the national interests of the United States.
All activities of the Intelligence Community should be conducted according to its guiding principles. The technological superiority, national security, and economic strength of the country are advanced by the delivery of distinctive insights with objectivity, clarity, and independence (National Intelligence Strategy, 2019). The Strategy emphasizes the achievement of “unparalleled access to protected information and exquisite understanding of the adversaries’ intentions and capabilities” as well (National Intelligence Strategy, 2019, p. 3). In addition, the Intelligence Community identifies the maintenance of global awareness and influence on other nations for strategic warning and the United States superiority on the global stage as well.
The United States military, political, security, and economic implications and the ability to identify, evaluate, and respond to both regional and geostrategic shifts require the effective work of the Intelligence Community. In the information-dominant era, it should gather, analyze, and operationalize essential data to provide the country with an appropriate response to the provocations of competitors (National Security Strategy, 2017).
Intelligence is required for the innovations and modernization of military forces as modern weapon systems substantively depend on data that is derived from technical intelligence and scientific researches. It is beneficial for the understanding and anticipation of foreign doctrines and other leaders’ intentions as well. Moreover, intelligence provides the effective prevention of operational and tactical provocations and ensures the dominance of American capabilities.
The United States Intelligence Community has certain strategic and operational benefits in comparison with the intelligence services of other countries. The advantages are determined by several factors, such as the country’s supremacy provided by its economic and political development and highly sophisticated technologies and equipment for effective data collecting and advanced researches. However, the most significant reason for the Community’s benefits is a strong international partnership.
The United States cooperates with its partners and allies throughout the world for better protection against rivals. In concert with other countries, it uses “the information-rich open-source environment to deny the ability of state and non-state actors to attack our citizens, conduct offensive intelligence activities, and degrade America’s democratic institutions” (National Security Strategy, 2017, p. 32). In addition, the Intelligence Community fuses information from information, diplomatic, and military domains for effective performance on the geopolitical stage. However, this fusion and excessive data-sharing with other nations that advance their interest may pose a certain risk for the United States as well.
The United States works with intelligence services of foreign states to benefit its safety and provide essential links to national security priorities. As a part of the intelligence agencies’ international network, The United States Intelligence Community coordinates their partners’ efforts “with virtually no transparency or accountability” (Kaufman, 2017, para. 1).
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The cooperation is currently dedicated to the prevention of international terrorism, and the United States is interested in receiving a new experience from its allies concerning this disturbing issue. In recent years, India and America have substantially improved their relationships and cooperated in military and political spheres. The expansion of the Intelligence Community’s intelligence partnership with Indian intelligence agencies, such as the Research and Analysis Wing and the Research Bureau, is the third stage of the partnership established between countries.
The United States military, political, security, and economic superiority substantively depend on the effective work of the Intelligence Community. It should gather, analyze, and operationalize essential data to provide the country with an appropriate response to the provocations of competitors. The Intelligence Community fuses data from information, diplomatic, and military domains for effective performance on the geopolitical stage.
The most significant reason for the Community’s strategic benefits is a strong international partnership as the United States cooperates with its partners and allies throughout the world. In recent years, India and America have substantially improved their relationships and established an intelligence partnership which expansion is determined by the well-developed network of India’s intelligent services. Contemporary intelligence agencies appeared during the colonial period, that is why they are among the oldest similar agencies in the world.
The expansion of cooperation in the sphere of intelligence will be beneficial for both partners. Data-sharing between American and Indian intelligence agencies will encourage the exchange of experience concerning the prevention of terrorist acts. Both countries have unique practices in this sphere as they face terrorist activities. Moreover, this partnership will provide the United States with a certain level of control and insight into a military, political, and economic situation not only in India but other countries in the region as well.
Kaufman, B. M. (2017). The U.S. Intelligence Community can share your personal information with other governments, and we’re demanding answers. Medium. Web.
National Security Strategy of the United States of America. (2017). Web.
Shaffer, R. (2018). Indian intelligence revealed: An examination of operations, failures and transformations. Intelligence and National Security, 33(4), 598-610. Web.
Shaffer, R. (2015). Unraveling India’s foreign intelligence: The origins and evolution of the Research and Analysis Wing. International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 28(2), 252-289. Web.