Rise of ‘Intelligence Diplomacy’ in a time of Security Challenges


    Syllabus: GS 2/IR

    In Context

    • Three major events drew attention to the expanding Indian diplomatic footprint. 

    Major Events: Indian Diplomatic Footprint

    • The annual Raisina Dialogue : It was  hosted by the Observer Research Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs
      • It brings together ministers, officials, scholars, and policy researchers from across the world to promote an India-centred global agenda. 
      • It has become a “must-go” event for the global strategic community interested in India.
    • Milan Exercise  :The biennial Multilateral Naval Exercise (Milan) in the Bay of Bengal attracts naval leaders from far and wide for professional exchanges on maritime issues.
      • The Milan exercise is part of a much older naval diplomacy.
        • Navies have always been flexible instruments for sovereigns in power projection and diplomacy.
      • The annual Malabar exercises with the US and the multilateral Milan exercises were among the first initiatives of the Indian Navy in the early 1990s. 
      • Today, they together showcase India’s new strategic salience in the Indo-Pacific.
    • Gathering of top intelligence officials :  “Intelligence diplomacy” is about sharing information with allied governments and their security agencies.
      •  The US, for example, has a tight circle of intelligence gathering and sharing with its Anglo-Saxon allies — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. 
      • Similar to the “Five Eyes” arrangement are intelligence-sharing networks among the NATO allies and the EU partners. 
      • For India, the emerging “intelligence diplomacy” could be as consequential as the “discourse diplomacy” of the Raisina Dialogue and the “naval diplomacy” of the Milan exercises.
    Other Efforts made by India 
    – Over the last decade, India has taken many steps for e.g 
    A. Communication with foreign media, academia, and civil society to influence perceptions has always been part of statecraft.
    B. The Foreign Office’s External Publicity (XP) Division and its embassies have long pursued these outreach activities. 
    C. The business chambers — CII and FICCI — have been at the forefront of creating these networks since the economic reforms began at the turn of the 1990s. 

    Importance and Need

    • As the volume of international engagements dramatically expanded in the 21st century, there has been a rapid growth in the size of the global communities interested in international commercial, political, technological and military affairs.
      • This has translated into a proliferation of think tanks and media outlets discussing foreign and security outlets.
    •  The deepening military crises worldwide, the new stresses on the global economic order and the return of great power rivalry have created new risks to global peace and prosperity. 
    • They have raised the value of the forums that facilitate valuable exchange of notes among national security professionals.
    • The intelligence agencies are an essential part of the national security establishment along with the diplomatic community and the armed forces.
      • As the first line of defence against internal and external threats, intelligence has been a critical part of statecraft since ancient times.
      • The role of intelligence in national security has grown significantly in recent years thanks to the rise of international terrorism, the growth of cross-border criminal networks, renewed economic competition, the increasing need to protect intellectual property, the return of great power rivalry, and the impact of new technologies that are reshaping the domestic and global dynamics of an interconnected international society. 

    Conclusion and Way Forward 

    • The regular exchanges between the Indian agencies and their counterparts from like-minded countries on the margins of the Raisina Dialogue underline Delhi’s shift from the isolationism of the later Cold War decades to building productive intelligence partnerships today.
    •  India’s intelligence diplomacy aligns with India’s current strategy of building regional and global coalitions.
    •  It is also an important part of modernising India’s spying agencies — the Intelligence Bureau and its many offspring — which date back to the late 19th century.
    Mains Practice Question 
    The role of intelligence in national security has grown significantly in recent years.In light of the above statement , discuss the importance of “intelligence diplomacy for India .