New IB chief has his task cut out

December 9th, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) Rajiv Mathur, a 1972 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who takes over as director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on Jan 1, will have his task cut out as his topmost priority will be to plug the gaps in the agency and address critical manpower and resource shortages.An Uttar Pradesh cadre officer, Mathur is currently special director in India’s internal intelligence agency and the organisation he will soon head has been in the spotlight for not following up on critical intelligence inputs provided not just for the NOv 26 Mumbai attacks but for the wave of at least 30 bombings across the country this year.

“The composition and operational philosophy of the intelligence agency has not really changed much all these years. In this security climate post 26/11 and with a new home minister, the IB chief will perforce have to be more pro-active,” said a senior intelligence functionary who knows Mathur.

Currently the IB has barely 3,500-3,800 field personnel engaged in hard-nosed snooping and information gathering out of a total strength of 28,000. Till date only 1,400 additional posts have been sanctioned.

Having spent more than 30 years in the country’s oldest domestic intelligence agency, Mathur, who many colleagues describe as “low-key and cerebral”, has not specialised in any particular area such as counter-intelligence or terrorism.

“He has largely been an officer who has dealt with political intelligence but that is alright. He is a team player and that is all that matters,” said another intelligence official.

The government has already set up a task force headed by S.D. Pradhan, who retired a few months ago as chief of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), to ensure more meaningful coordination among the country’s intelligence outfits including the IB, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Mathur will be director for a minimum of two years as the post carries a fixed tenure. He takes over from P.C. Haldar, who retires at the end of this month.

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