The Ultimate Goal
How Nations and Intelligence Agencies Construct Narratives
By - Vikram Sood
n The Ultimate Goal, Vikram Sood, former chief of India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), explains 'the narrative' and how a country's ability to construct, sustain and control narratives, at home and abroad, enhances its strength and position. Intelligence agencies invariably play a critical role in this, an often-indispensable tool of statecraft.
A 'narrative' may not necessarily be based on truth, but it does need to be plausible, have a meaning and create a desired perception. During most of the twentieth century, intelligence agencies helped shape narratives favourable to their countries' agendas through literature, history, drama, art, music and cinema. Today, social media has become crucial to manipulating, countering or disrupting narratives, with its ability to spread fake news disinformation, and provoke reactions.
About the Author :
Vikram Sood, a career intelligence officer for thirty-one years who retired in March 2003 after heading the R&AW, is currently adviser at the Observer Research Foundation, an independent public-policy think tank based in New Delhi. He writes regularly on security, foreign relations and strategic issues in journals and newspapers and has contributed chapters related to security, China, intelligence and India's neighbourhood to books published in the last few years. His book, The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief's Insights into Espionage, was published in 2018.
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