Saurabh Kumar Shahi
Just saw a college friend celebrating the ban on NDTV. Shocked me out of my wits. Always thought that person to be a liberal… But anyways, Goebbelsian machinery is at its full swing and I can understand how can it change normal people into Bhakts.
However! I need to put my view across on this “leaking sensitive information” drivel. So here it goes.
Every self-respecting intelligence agency these days is well equipped in information gathering. As much through technology as it is through human intelligence assets (human ints). Grass. Supergrass. ISI particularly marvels at information gathering. (That is to go by the assumption that ISI directly coordinated Pathankot thingy.) Their capability at information gathering is sort of unmatched in the region, and even beyond. Mandarins will attest to that. Just Google how many Indian Defence/Military AttachÃ©s have been honey trapped in the last five years. It is mind boggling. But it’s their analysis, processing that information part where they lag, and leave a breach open. And Indian intelligence is very good at this other aspect. That’s how they have balanced each other all these years.
To believe a drivel that it would require a live coverage by journalists to tell them about the assets inside the base is preposterous. Journalists, including most of the defence journalists, arguably know a lot about larger picture. But these are of no or very little use to foreign intelligence agencies in their sabotage operations. Useful for political posturing I grant you, but useless for attacks. It is no surprise then that hardly any big time journalist in India has ever been cultivated by Pakistanis. No one has ever been proven to be on their payroll. All past allegations have been political and communal in nature and have fallen flat in courts. Armymen? Yes. Government Officials? Yes. Civilian Contractors linked with Defence works? Yes. But not journalists.
India provides very little scope for independent journalism on defence and foreign policy. Most of it is through press conference or deliberate “leaks,” (called plants in civilised democracies) by information officers. And most of the time these are self-serving misinformation or gross exaggeration. Apart from these, they know nothing. Zilch. So if anyone needs to be held responsible for these useless “leaks,” it is these officers. But that would be ridiculous, isn’t it?
To think that an Indian journalist would know more about a particular defence asset in India more than operatives of the aggressive foreign agencies is to give too much credit to that journalist. It’s borderline laughable, with due respect to all my colleagues.
For these agencies, a layman who owns a shop on the highway linking Punjab to Kashmir is more useful. Because he can give them lots of info on troops movements and their timing sitting on his shop. Because he can tell them exactly how many tanks or artillery pieces passed through that road this last week. That’s what is called intelligence gathering.
So when a journalist files a “report” that India will have two fully functional, battle-ready, Aircraft Carrier in three years; he might still believe in that information. But an aggressive intelligence agency exactly knows that’s not the case. You think they waited for CAG report to bust that information for them? No. They have means. That’s modern intelligence warfare. Learn to live with it.
What NDTV reporter was sharing that day is all available on open sources. It can be found on internet, social media, newspapers, everywhere. Every single information. This is a laughable, rather preposterous accusation. Yes! Telling live movement of your counter-attack troops while operation is on is disastrous. Like ALL channels did during 26/11. Not during Pathankot.
If anyone needs to be punished for Pathankot, it is the government and its agencies. Not the messenger. Not NDTV India.
I stand with NDTV. Do you?