With the shocking discovery of 80 Kilograms of sophisticated military-style weapons being airdropped by the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) into the Punjab border on 22 September, it is vital to know about the core branches of the Islamabad’s secret service responsible for such operations on Indian soil. Pakistani intelligence has three core branches responsible for waging a dirty war on India.
What Is The ISI? Who Heads It And Where Does It Draw Its Manpower From?
The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is Pakistan’s premier external intelligence agency. The ISI is on similar lines with India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Israeli Mossad. The Pakistani spy agency is headquartered in Islamabad. The secretive organisation is headed by a Director General (DG) who is usually a Lieutenant General rank officer of the Pakistan Army.
The DG of the ISI is aided by three senior military officers who are designated as Deputy Director Generals (DDG). The premier Pakistani spook outfit is over 25,000 personnel strong, drawing a majority of its manpower from the Pakistani police force, paramilitary, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) from the Pakistani military.
The Three Main Branches Of The ISI
The Operations Branch of the ISI is the core branch responsible for Intelligence gathering and imparting intelligence training to recruits and assets. The bulk of the Pakistani secret service’s operations planning, target selection and overall intel strategy is planned and executed by personnel from the Ops branch. This division of the ISI has been notorious for its regular coordination with terrorist groups, to coordinate well-planned attacks on Indian soil. The operations branch have a steady supply of non-state actors willing to wage what they call a jihad against non-belivers. These groups allow Pakistani intelligence to wage a drawn-out dirty war against India while maintaining plausible deniability.
All insurgencies require arms and ammunitions to survive. The ISI’s logistics department is the division responsible for keeping the flow of arms running. They make sure foreign back terrorists and domestic insurgents are always stocked with superior firepower. Personnel from this division procure the assault weapons and munitions required by extremist groups to wage their ‘Jihad’. The logistics personnel of the ISI maintain close working relations with illegal arms dealers around the world and have developed some of the most sophisticated illicit arms networks in the intelligence world.
ISI’s PysOps professionals run a sophisticated operation. These operatives with the help of paid or oblivious media professionals, academics, religious teachers have successfully radicalised nearly an entire generation of Kashmiri youth. This nefarious ISI-Media-Insurgent network has led to the establishment of a lucrative domestic terror recruitment base within the country by leveraging mass media platforms, thereby magnifying both genuine and staged voices of dissent. The ISI has been known to broadcast radical messages on border radio frequencies, print seditious literature for their distribution in schools, have a network of religious teachers indoctrinating youth coming for theological education in Madrassas.
There were over 300 Pakistan based WhatsApp groups being operated in early 2019 with the sole purpose of mobilising stone pelters, students and unarmed civilians to disrupt Counter insurgency operations. This highly competent wing of the ISI has become a thorn in the side of Indian security forces, even more so since the repeal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
One Chance Is All It Takes
The ISI has proven its self to be a deadly adversary, with the intelligence organisation working to bleed India by a thousand cuts for over three decades. It is imperative for Indian security and intelligence organisations to effectively tackle the security challenges imposed by Islamabad so that the nefarious organisation cannot further their ill-intended designs after all one chance is all it takes for the enemy to succeed.