Published On: Sun, Jul 29th, 2018

Intelligence agency heads should be selected on performance basis: Ex-R&AW chief

New Delhi: The entire intelligence apparatus should be moved away from bureaucratic control and intel agency heads should get longer tenures and be selected on the basis of career performance and not just seniority, suggests former R&AW chief Vikram Sood. He feels that it is necessary to have periodic reforms to ensure that the country has the best intelligence apparatus it can afford.

Former R&AW chief Vikram Sood

Sood has come up with a new book “The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights into Espionage” in which he deconstructs the shadowy world of spies, from the Cold War era to the age of global jihad, from surveillance states to psy-war and cyberwarfare, from gathering information to turning it into credible intelligence.

“Prime ministers need to choose their chiefs of intelligence with great care. Past experience, career performance in the R&AW and integrity should be the main guiding factors, and not just seniority,” he says.

“Leaving this decision opaque or simply on the basis of seniority, which is quite an immutable rule in bureaucracy, is not the most suitable way of selecting a successor for an intelligence organisation,” he says.

On the issue of seven officers heading the R&AW between 1990 and 1999, he writes, “This was certainly not the best advertisement for a specialised agency that needs continuity and stability at the top.”

A career intelligence officer for 31 years, Sood retired in March 2003 after heading India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).


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