A striking feature of the awards given to the Indian and Pakistani servicemen on their respective Independence Days in 2018 is the marked comparative preponderance of awards given to personnel who are dealing with Intelligence by the latter. Of the 505 Indian army awardees (including 367 Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation Cards —COAS CC) only 16 (3%) were from the Intelligence Corps. Of these 16, fifteen had got COAS CC, while one was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’, a gallantry award below Sena Medal, in other words at the fourth rung in its category.
In the Pakistani Army of the total 451 awards (including 156 COAS CC) 60 (or 13%) awardees were from the Intelligence Corps. These included one Colonel and one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) who were the recipients of the highest award given on this Independence day, the Sitara-i- Basalat (Roughly equivalent to the Ashoka Chakra —India’s highest peacetime award). Both were given the award posthumously. Of the 60 Intelligence Corps awards only 23 were COAS CC. The rest were higher awards.
The point that emerges from this rough analysis is that the Pakistani Army gives much more importance to their Intelligence Corps and to Intelligence operations. In the 4th Generation War (4GW) genre of operations, which are predominant at present, intelligence is a war winning factor. Perhaps we need to rebalance our priorities in conduct of intelligence operations. The start point could be to post top rung officers into intelligence corps and intelligence billets. This does not traditionally happen in the Indian Army which gives far greater importance for physical conduct of operations than providing intelligence for conduct of operations. In modern conventional war technical intelligence gives good dividends. In 4GW especially counter-terrorist operations actionable intelligence is very important. This requires excellent human intelligence besides technical intelligence, and top-class intelligence analysts to sift through the mountains of technical intelligence.
Many experts have felt that the Pakistani intelligence operations are better. Could it be because of the priority they give to intelligence operations evident from the awards their personnel from Military Intelligence are bestowed with. The trend analysed above is only of this year. Possibly the comparative awards have had the same trend in the past also. Views or counter views on the above point of according greater importance to our intelligence operations are solicited on this blog.