Five Eyes | Will India be joining the world’s most exclusive intelligence club?

The unblinking eyes of a technological god looked out from high above the stratosphere at Los Palacios rice fields, west of Havana, approximately 20,000m above the Caribbean Sea. On October 14, 1962, images taken by the U2 spycraft’s Hycon 73, B cam captured a Soviet military convoy moving down a road. Five Eyes Intelligence Club & India came into the picture after the recent power projection of China in both the Indian sub-continent and the Pacific Ocean region. The fallout of Kabul made things more clear to the five eyes countries.

Analysts hunched over a table in Washington’s Stuart Building noticed something else. Six medium-range missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons deep within the United States. His staff was told by Arthur Lundahl, chief of the National Photo Interpretation Centre. The image took the world to the brink of nuclear war within hours and then helped it return.

Efforts are now gathering to place India inside the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ club led by the United States, the most sophisticated intelligence-gathering alliance in human history. The language was drafted by Senator Ruben Galego, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee for Special Operations Intelligence. It calls on the Director, of National Intelligence, to report on the benefits, and the risks, of expanding the “circle of trust” to other like-minded democracies. Five Eyes could also include South Korea, Japan, and India. This is in addition to European partners that are critical for fighting the looming Cold War with China.

Five Eyes Intelligence Club & India

Since at least 2015, the United States has been discussing tightening its intelligence relations with India, including some type of associate membership to the Five Eyes. The language of the bill suggests that this idea is gaining traction Five Eyes membership will in principle give India the support it needs to fight against the People’s Liberation Army’s vast military power. New Delhi’s ability and resources to decrypt and harvest strategic Chinese communication as well as its language and regional expertise have been a problem for a long time. This deal, like all deals, has hidden terms and conditions, some of which are less attractive than others.

Five Eyes was born out of intelligence-sharing between the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan in the Second World War. This alliance by 1955 included all English-speaking countries. Five countries ran listening stations, which were supplemented by satellites from the 1970s. This allowed the intelligence services to absorb virtually all electronic communication around the globe. Because of the curvature and shape of the earth, part of inter-city microwave signals carrying telephone traffic went into space. Based on revelations by Nicky Hager of New Zealand, James Bamford of the USA, and Duncan Campbell, a British journalist, the scale of Five Eyes operations became public in the 1990s. Fears arose that the alliance might be used by member-states to spy on their citizens and to advance their commercial interests.

The European Parliament published reports in 2000 and 2001 indicating that the fears were well-founded. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), admitted that the United States had conducted espionage within Europe. This included targeting foreign entities and paying bribes in order to obtain contracts. He claimed that this type of commercial and economic intelligence was not transmitted to American companies. Fred Stock, an ex-Canadian intelligence officer, testified earlier that Woolsey was at best-telling half the truth. Stock claimed that he was expelled from the service in 1993 after he criticized its targeting of civilian and economic targets. This included information about negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement, Chinese grain purchase, and French weapon sales. One famous case was when the CIA dug a tunnel beneath Berlin to listen to Soviet phone calls. The tunnel was already smuggled to the Soviets by George Blake, a double agent from Britain, at the time of the plans’ beginning in 1953. They deceived their enemies by sending misleading communications through this network.

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