Civil-Military Fusion in Intelligence Domain – A Game Changer

By Bharat Singh

The hostile neighborhood, greater role of India in maintaining world order and growth in overall stature of our nation demands a significant role from our intelligence agencies in maintaining this position at the International platform. Hence, fusion of civil and military intelligence agencies is the need of hour.


It’s a matter of fact that India is surrounded by hostile neighbors along eastern and northern borders. The wounds of 26/11 Mumbai attack, Pulwama blast, recent Poonch attack on military convoy, Galwan incident and various other border skirmishes by the PLA are still fresh in our minds. The changing geopolitical dimensions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and aggressive posture by China along LAC have demanded our country to be abreast with correct information about the latest developments regarding not only aforementioned countries but also about other countries having direct implications on our security and economic affairs. The insurgency infested areas of North East India, activities in the Red Corridor and prevailing multiple smuggling land and sea routes also possess a concern for internal security from time to time. To counter all these issues of different nature spread over a large spectrum, an integrated effort by our civil and military intelligence agencies is not only urgently required but would also be a game changer for security from external as well as internal threats.

Latest Development in Intelligence Fusion

It’s a well-known fact that the functioning of external and internal intelligence agencies are interlinked and they compliment the effort of each other. The importance of interoperability was first realised in recommendation from Kargil Review Committee, based on which Multi Agency Centre (MAC) was formed in December 2001 for overhaul of the Indian national security apparatus. Today, there are about 400 MAC/SMAC sites across our country. The next bigger development in inter agency synergy was the establishment of National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), based on lessons learned post 26/11 Mumbai attack. The NATGRID is established to bring a paradigm shift in the current ways of functioning of our agencies and to operate a state of art and innovative technology system. The government of India in July 2016 appointed Ashok Patnaik, IPS as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NATGRID. All its required physical infrastructures were completed as on 31 March 2020 and the NATGRID solution went live on 31 December 2020.  It is accessible to 11 central agencies in the first phase and in later phases, will be made accessible to police of all States and Union Territories.

Apart from the existing intelligence grids and task based synergised actions at ground zero by various intelligence agencies, it’s also important to have proper data sharing and communication channels at top level. For this, subsidiary MAC, State and Military intelligence agencies have a larger role to play. The National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) can act as a nodal coordinating institute among various agencies and active cooperation at the top level between bureaucracy, intelligence and the security forces can be developed accordingly.

Need of Civil-Military Fusion

In modern day warfare, there is a paradigm shift in war fighting capability of different nations and countries have well understood the importance of narrative-based world order, propulsion of propaganda and soft power as key components of future warfare. Due to this shift in thought process, the domain of operations for intelligence agencies has vastly increased with additional responsibilities at all levels. To cater for this new requirement, interoperability between intelligence agencies is inescapable and this can be achieved by various efforts as mentioned.

• Developing intelligence as part of national strategy and not just a force multiplier asset.

• If NATGRID is not meeting the legitimate requirement, a Fusion Centre can be established to streamline and disseminate information by merging data from various agencies.

• Fast flow of information to the concerned department/institution is also an issue, which needs to be streamlined for effectiveness of information.

• In the future wars, civil assets of strategic importance would be prime target of adversely, hence training of private agencies is also an important facet.

• Using biology-driven AI surveillance mechanisms, robotics, satellite tracking, and multiple target tracking by sophisticated technology equipment has become essential. These assets are not available under one single organization but they can be effectively used through an integrated effort, by creating a single platform for all inputs.

• The nefarious design of our adversary to disrupt peace and our country’s counter responses should be incorporated into the national curriculum to impart awareness among youths.

• Narrative based wars are the new weapons to detrain progress of any nation and we are largely vulnerable. These motives of hostilities can only be countered by an integrated effort by our civil and military intelligence agencies.


Appreciating the new tactics of war fighting in future, it’s analysed that narrative based warfare is the only effective, economic and non contact option. In this case, intelligence agencies play a major role in guarding against fake propagandas and establishing our own theme in the environment.  This ambitious objective can only be effectively attained by civil-military fusion in the intelligence domain. The integration and training of civil agencies responsible for guarding strategic assets is also an important step to be incorporated in future. Integration of technology in futuristic warfare is a must and all our intelligence agencies need to keep themselves abreast with this trend. Finally, the correct political will and effective coordination among agencies at top level would be a game changer in fusion of effort.

By Bharat Singh


• List of Indian Intelligence Agencies,

• Multi Agency Centre,


• Coordination between agencies need of hour, the pioneer dated 26 November 2022.

• Civil Military Fusion: A model for India by Lt Gen P R Shankar (Retd)

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