India’s Spy Agencies

Title:                      India’s Spy Agencies

Author:                 Lt. Col. Sunil S. Parihar

Parihar, Sunil S. (2012). India’s Spy Agencies: Shaken Not Stirred. New Delhi: Manas Publications

LCCN:    2013315556

JQ229.I6 P37 2012

Subjects

Date Posted:      April 28, 2016

Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[1]

After graduating from the Indian Military Academy, Sunil Parihar served in the infantry and in a number of intelligence assignments. India’s Spy Agencies expresses his concerns about the performance of India’s intelligence services and how they compare to similar agencies in other nations.

Pakistan’s 1999 surprise invasion of Kargil—India’s Pearl Harbor—in the Kashmir region, is the focus of Parihar’s concerns. A postinvasion study of the operation listed numerous failures by the Indian army and the intelligence agencies. (p. 60) Parihar reviews the organization and track record of each of India’s services with regard to Kargil and other operations in which they had been involved. He includes a discussion of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI and some of their failures in order to demonstrate that India is not the only service to experience such difficulties. This is followed by a discussion of “what ails India’s spy machine,” (pp. 83ff.) with separate chapters on “dirty tricks,” the role of analysis, and suggestions for reform.

A chapter lists the “top ten spy agencies” (pp. 149ff.) in the world, in reverse order—Pakistan’s ISI comes out on top, the CIA is fourth-followed by a listing, by title, of the “world’s major intelligence agencies” (pp. 161ff). The final chapter is a timeline for 2011 that summarizes significant intelligence events in India for that year.

India’s Spy Agencies is a somewhat disjointed account of an important topic by a firsthand participant.

[1] Peake, Hayden B. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (20, 2, Fall/Winter, 2013, pp. 135-136). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence. These and many other reviews and articles may be found online at http://www.cia.gov.

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