Intelligence: March 13, 2002


India's first Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) became operational on 5 March 2002, with LTG Kamal Davar taking over as its Director General. LTG Onkar Singh Lohchab had been the Director General of the old Military Intelligence. 

Modeled after US and Western armies, the DIA would bring India's three services intelligence networks (Army, Navy and Air Force) under one umbrella. An unnamed top defense ministry official noted that, unlike its previous incarnation ( the Directorate of Military Intelligence), the DIA would be a vibrant organization and allocated "adequate funding, manpower and resources". 

Davar would have senior Navy and Air Force intelligence officers working with him, with Air Marshal S C Malhan appointed as Deputy Director General of the DIA. The Director General post would be a rotating one among the three services. 

Setting up a dynamic battlefield and security threat perception oriented agency had been one of the major recommendations of a Group of Ministers report, which examined the intelligence lapses in failing to detect the terrorist intrusions into the Jammu and Kashmir's Kargil sector from Pakistan in 1999. 

Prior to this, Indian Military intelligence had only a limited number of Field Intelligence Units (FIUs) that were only tasked to gather information during ongoing operations as well as to maintain liaison with Foreign Military forces. The newly established DIA would have a full fledged section dealing with terrorist intelligence gathering and internal security threat perceptions. 

The military also perceived that Bombay's civilian intelligence agencies (like RAW and IB) maintained a stranglehold on all intelligence gathering.

LTG Davar was commissioned as an armored corps officer in June 1963 into the 7th Light Cavalry and is a veteran of both the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak Wars. He was also wounded in action of 1965 war of Lahore Sector. 

Davar was a graduate of the Defense Services Staff College, the College of Defencs Management and has held various staff, instructional and command slots. These include member of the Indian Military Training Team in Iraq, command of an elite armored brigade, instructor at College of Combat, Mhow, command of the Ladakh Division and GOC of a Corps in the Western Sector. He was Chief of Staff of a Corps actively involved in the low intensity warfare in Jammu and Kashmir. He is Colonel of the 74 Armored Regiment and 86 Armored Regiment, as well being decorated with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.

Prior to appointment to the DIA, Lieutenant General Kamal Davar was the Director General Mechanized Forces. He will act as the "single window" principal military advisor to India's Defense Minister, as well as the proposed Chief of Defense Staff. - Adam Geibel


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