NEW DELHI: Former chief of external intelligence agency RAW, Vikram Sood, on Friday suggested recruiting youngsters for intelligence gathering rather than post graduate ones keeping in mind future challenges.
Addressing a book release event, he said, however bright civil servants might be, they are not fully equipped "to deal with that kind of information because they do not come with domain expertise that we will need 30 years from now."
He said you need to have people who join you very early.
"Like the armed forces do. They recruit a person at 18 or 19 (years). I don't see why an intelligence operator who is going to collect the intelligence out in the field has to be a graduate or a post-graduate. Why can't he come as a school leaver and we have our own training academy where we graduate (them). Then you have a person that you really want. Nowadays I think we all fish around," said Sood, who retired as the RAW chief in March 2003.
Sharing his experience during his tenure at the external intelligence agency, he said in those days we did not talk about domain experts like we do now because those days domain were limited.
"There was hardly any terrorism and there was no cyber (attack) or anything. It was (then) ideal to draw the talents out of the civil services and put them to use. My observation has been throughout also that if you are looking at an intelligence organisation thirty-year from now we have to assess the kind of world that might be when and what are the threats that they are going to face," Sood said.
He said, there were people in the RAW who won't touch the computer.
"It is like you won't drive a car just because you might have accident," said Sood, an officer of Indian Postal Service, who became the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
He was participating in a panel discussion on the book "R N Kao -- Gentleman Spymaster" by Nitin A Gokhale.
The book was released by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.