Army must confine to tactical intelligence gathering, new units need our nod: MoD

ArmyMoD specified Military Intelligence to restrict its gathering to tactical intelligence that is needed either by troops on the border. (PTI)

Acting on the high-level inquiry report into the functioning of a controversial Military Intelligence (MI) unit set up by former Army Chief V K Singh, the Ministry of Defence has sent a set of instructions to the Army, reminding it about its limited mandate of intelligence gathering and emphasising the rules for creation and restructuring of units.

The inquiry report, prepared by Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, had claimed that the secretive Technical Support Division (TSD) had allegedly indulged in activities to affect the government in Jammu and Kashmir and had claimed to have even carried out covert operations. It had also pointed to widespread misuse of powers that were given to the unit.

While a decision on further action based on the report is yet to be taken, it is learnt that the MoD recently sent firm instructions that any change in the shape or size of the Army has to be cleared by the government.

The inquiry report put a question mark on the very creation of the unit given that there were no clear instructions from the MoD — or the Cabinet Committe on Security — to conduct such operations. And that the TSD was set up by the Army in 2010 by merely "interpreting" the operational directives given to it by the government. This has prompted the MoD to send instructions to Army HQ that from now on permissions need to be taken to change the structure or role of units.

It is also learnt that the new set of directions specify and emphasise that the mandate of the MI has to be restricted to gathering of tactical intelligence that is needed either by troops on the border or soldiers engaged in counter-insurgency operations.

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