Elections in 5 states: BJP to consolidate Scheduled Caste votes, SC Morcha demands reservation in all universities
INTEl AGENCIES & FOREIGN POLICY
Obviously, foreign policies cannot be made on the hunch of policy makers. It has to be supported by strategic intelligence. SI is the evaluated informational product of intelligence agencies that provides the intentions, unwritten policies, the mindset of the leaders and internal dynamics of countries India is interested in
Since independence the story of Indian foreign policy has been a mix bag of successes and failures. During the Cold War period we created NAM and gradually evolved from being pro-Soviet and contradictory to Western interests, to now becoming an important Western strategic partner and providing a counterweight to the growing influence of China.
Over the last seven decades India has been hailed for its nuclear tests, creation of Bangladesh and Maldives operations by flexing its influence through diplomacy, trade and defense forces which has seen it emerge as an influential partner in at least regional politics.
On the other hand, there are enumerable times when our prestige has been lowered due to inappropriate decisions.
Foreign policy is termed as arrangements countries initiate to meet their choices in the international arena. It is a process in which certain achievable goals are designated by a state and the state marshals those objectives to impose them in their dealings with other states to pursue their national interests.
Obviously, foreign policies cannot be made on the hunch of policy makers. It has to be supported by strategic intelligence. SI is the evaluated informational product of intelligence agencies that provides the intentions, unwritten policies, the mindset of the leaders and internal dynamics of countries India is interested in.
Therefore, it becomes a potentially important element in our foreign policy decision making. But the role and impact of intelligence reports are very difficult to understand because of secrecy, conceptual optimism, definitional problems and expertise of the person analyzing it.
A great need remains, and opportunities exist, to move towards a better threadbare understanding of intelligence, or at least toward available inputs about when, how and what should ascertain our foreign policy to be effective not only in our neighborhood but being at least an influential power in the region, which in today’s context remains an illusion.
As the present PM stormed into the office with promises of a radical change involving a better management of foreign affairs and raising India’s stature in the world, the nation saw a more muscular foreign policy which was FDI oriented and wanted a seat among the big leaders in the world. India witnessed unprecedented foreign visits by its PM and equally reciprocal visits by many world leaders to India.
Though, in the initial few years it appeared that image of India is taking a flip in the right direction owing to the road shows organized wherever we could find a large Indian presence, soon it was clear that hugging of presidents, other world leaders and over ten meetings with Xi Jinping proved to be nothing more than a miscalculated theatrics and New Delhi was found betrayed and standing alone on many international issues.
Investing in countries like Iran, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan with no dividends was a result of our wanting understanding of foreign affairs.
Therefore, there must be something else apart from the face value of the leaders that should be considered before determining the foreign policies and that is the credibility, reliability and quality of inputs by intelligence agencies.
Unfortunately for India, NAM coupled with Int failure resulted in the debacle and humiliation of 1962. The Nation should have learnt a lesson then, but again the Intelligence agencies failed the nation in IPKF and then in Kargil.
As if it was not enough, the Chinese intrusion in Ladakh again highlighted the incompetence of Indian Int agencies. Due to the absence of timely and accurate intelligence inputs and its correct and meaningful analysis, the nation not only lost its two prime Ministers in 80s but also suffered a number of terror attacks. The bizarre results are that no heads have rolled on such grave national lapses.
Talking further, I would say that when it comes to the bigger decisions that our policy makers have to make like reorientations of grand strategy in international affairs based on intelligence inputs, the history is replete with examples where perceptions for a policy come more from the policy maker’s own “gut sense” rather than the strategic sense which has often caused embarrassment to India.
Maybe it’s time to obliterate the blame game after every debacle of our foreign policy and resultant int failures and incorporate AI algorithms to support our armchair policy makers.
Well, although the AI system is far from replacing the human diplomats, it is an addition to the many technologies that the government of super powers are depending on to reach a balanced response futuristically.
The views expressed by the author are personaL