The Central Government's ASHOKA-IB(NMB) project, designed as a Database and Threat Management System, is currently grappling with significant challenges that are adversely affecting its ability to conduct effective anti-Naxal operations. The Free Press Journal (FPJ) has obtained access to minutes from an intelligence-sharing session among various agencies. These minutes shed light on a noticeable lack of coordination and mutual understanding among agencies such as the CBI, NIA, Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax, and other central entities in relation to anti-Naxal operations in the border regions of Gadchiroli, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana.
Anti-Naxal operations hampered due to different problems
Numerous operations against Naxals are being executed within perplexing circumstances, mainly due to the lack of effective coordination between different agencies and language barriers. Intelligence inputs are often shared in languages that are not universally understood, adding to the challenge. Furthermore, when timely intelligence is received, multiple agencies engaged in the operation contribute their diverse perspectives, opinions, and viewpoints to the "ASHOKA-IB(NMB)" database. This practice frequently results in confusion, miscommunication, and the emergence of unverified situations within the National Memory Data Bank (NMB), which has been established by the Union home ministry.
The primary purpose of this database is to enhance counter-terrorism efforts and subsequent investigations by compiling comprehensive information about terrorists, suspects, operations, and even the minutest details regarding terrorist organisations, associates, and left-wing extremist groups operating in the country. This data is made accessible at all operational levels, where the analysis of ground-level inputs becomes paramount. The central goal behind establishing the NMB is to foster improved coordination among agencies and facilitate the timely sharing of intelligence inputs to enhance operational effectiveness.
The NMB serves as the central repository for counter-terrorism-related information, linked with state intelligence units, RAW, and military intelligence.
Agencies held meeting in Chhattisgarh to discuss challenges
A few months ago, a meeting took place in Chhattisgarh involving various agencies including CBI, CRPF, SIB-Telangana, NIA, ED, Customs, DRI, CISF, and IT. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss their respective challenges. Among the issues brought to the forefront, the language barrier emerged as a significant concern. SIB-Telangana highlighted the situation where they occasionally received timely inputs but encountered difficulties in comprehending them due to the inputs being in Hindi language. This language barrier resulted in missed opportunities for anti-Naxal operations as there was a delay in translating the inputs. To tackle this challenge, they advocated for the sharing of inputs in English, along with the contact details of the originator of the input.
The second notable issue pertained to the preliminary nature of the inputs received. Frequently, when an input was received, it lacked specific details about which agency would be responsible for taking initial action. This ambiguity added to the complexity of the situation.
Third and major issue is with agency about old equipment and hardware.
Another significant concern raised was the state of outdated equipment and hardware within certain agencies.