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Linguistic trouble at intelligence agencies

India’s intelligence outfits have run into an extreme shortage of experts who can process their raw inputs in languages like Dari, Pashto, Chinese dialects etc.

Published: 14th October 2012 10:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2012 10:18 AM   |  A+A-

India’s intelligence outfits have run into an extreme shortage of experts who can process their raw inputs in languages like Dari, Pashto, Chinese dialects etc. “The situation is so bad that sometime we hire people on a contract basis from All India Radio, Universities etc, who are paid by the hour,” one senior official said.

Alarmed by the growing Maoist influence in Nepal, R&AW wants to set up a dedicated Nepalese language unit, which can filter information by listening in to chatter in various dialects spoken by the people and tribes in Maoists areas. Sources said that both the internal and external spy agencies want skilled experts in Pashto and Dari, which will help them develop actionable intelligence on drug cartels, which operate in Afghanistan with the active support of the Taliban and other terror organisations.

“Many strategically important intelligence listening posts were rendered useless as experts with a knack of decoding sensitive information quit after getting better offers in the private sector,” sources added.

The government will also fill the vacancies to decode intelligence traffic generated in Jammu & Kashmir, the North-east and Naxal-affected areas. An official said on the condition of anonymity that since spycraft is now more dependent on technical intelligence, it is important to have experts to examine and decode intercepts emanating from sensitive zone. Ajai Sahni , a well known security expert said ‘a very large portion of intelligence gathered by the agencies are not processed because “we don’t have experts to decode it”.

“You cannot tackle intelligence from Pakistan with somebody who only knows Urdu. Agencies need experts who can understand the dialects. But the government has for a very long time neglected this aspect.”



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