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News analysis

Our national intelligence agencies cannot be so inefficient

By Special Correspondent
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Anandabazar Patrika -the Indian newspaper has reported that, not RAB or any other Bangladeshi intelligence but Indian intelligence agencies informed the exact location of the cache of arms and ammunition recovered from the Satchhari national park to RAB. RAB, however denied the claim by the Indian media. In the report Anandabazar said Indian intelligence forces provided specific info to Bangladesh and while the operation was being carried out even the local police was under complete darkness about the issue. Now, keeping apart the claim of Anandabazar, the total saga of events, as it unfolded raises a number of essential question marks. First of all, if RAB - a branch of police needs to do such undercover operations related to our national security as well then what is precisely the task of the networks of national and defense intelligence agencies? Secondly, it is reported in the media that the time of the arms recovery in many ways imply that the operation may have been planned to recover  RAB's dented image. We are not likely to know the truth soon. Thirdly, why it took nearly two decades for the bunkers to be unearthed, and allegedly with the help of foreign intelligence information? It has been claimed that the Indian sources were supplying information of the hidden arms and ammunition for many rears now.If RAB had indeed recovered the arms based on a tip-off by the Indian intelligences, as reported by various domestic media agencies including that of Indian ones, then it is nothing to cheer about and rather we can only criticize the strength and efficiency of our intelligence agencies. But how the Indians came to know of the matter inside Bangladesh before the Bangladeshis did needs a rational clarification. Do we have anything left of our territorial integrity or our right to self-determination? Why did our prestigious intelligence agencies  not realize what was happening in the areas near the north-eastern borders? Also without very advanced technology related to satellite imagery for detecting arms it's a conundrum that how the Indians came to know about the exact spot? Is it the case that the operations capacity of a foreign intelligence agency inside our territory is better than that of ours? According to security specialists, our intelligence agencies are given world class training, then how could it be the case? An ex-minister and security specialist told to a Bangla daily that the only explanation is, the Bangladesh government has made the jurisdiction of intelligence agencies subservient upon the actions of RAW - the Indian intelligence agencies. Along with this incident, there have been numerous reports in the media about the fact that Indian forces arrested a supposed ISI agent from Dhaka Airport. These two incidents allude that unless there is a strong and active network of Indian intelligence working inside Bangladesh, these could not have been possible.  If it is really the case that Indian agents are operating within Bangladesh territory and have contributed to the discovery of the huge cache of arms in Satchhari jungle, as reported by Indian media outlets, then there is also the high possibility that our national and security issues could be leaked as easily. We unequivocally say that Bangladesh should never be used as a base by militants or terrorists, but in the same spirit how can we let foreign intelligence work more actively than that of ours within our territory? Not only this is a question of security but also this is the question of sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-determination. Must we prove that we do not lack patriotism and dignity to uphold our own independence. Failure of political leadership cannot be an excuse for the nation's lack of vigilance.

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