India’s top intelligence agencies are set for a major change. Changes are being made steadily and silently to fill the crucial gaps in technology and manpower.Prime Minister Narendra Modi dropped a clear hint that the espionage architecture is up for a massive overhaul while summing up his vision of SMART policing at the annual meet on internal security in Guwahati on Sunday. What are the problems with our intel agencies?”Currently, both our internal and external agencies – IB and R&AW – are facing a crunch not only on the staff front, the most trusted and effective method to prevent and foil threats, but also on the tech front. Emerging challenges from cyberspace, including threats from the ISIS and al Qaeda, have to be tackled,” said sources.What about NIA?Even they face a shortage of specialists in cyber surveillance, explosives and chemical tracing and often requests private computer geeks to decrypt laptops and mobiles.How severe is the staff shortage in R&AW?The R&AW, estimated to have a staff strength of 4,500, is also facing massive shortage. It’s short of over 100 officials at the level of under-secretaries and deputy secretaries who process and translate field inputs and do espionage that requires some finesse.What about the IB?”The situation is not much different from last year when the IB had a shortfall of over 30%, with 18,795 personnel on its rolls against a sanctioned strength of 26,867. The actual requirement is more than 45,000,” sources said. The IB’s existing facilities can train only about 700 agents a year.How good are we in overseas espionage?The agencies are on a tough turf here as, over the years, their assets abroad have dwindled. Sources say R&AW has not been able to turn the tide that was set in motion by former PM I K Gujral by forcing to bring its assets down in neighbouring countries. As a result, important positions in West Asia, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan are being held by officers who have never served in these countries.How important are Muslim officers?Muslim officers are so few that it has drastically reduced our capabilities to translate the threats from jihadist outfits like al Qaeda, ISIS or Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan.”This is one big reason for our failure in building assets in our immediate neighbourhood and in West Asia, from where new terror threats are emerging. The fate of 40 Indians in Iraq would have been a happy one, if we had assets in West Asia,” an official added.What about the tech front?For the R&AW, the huge shortage of cryptanalysts, responsible for decrypting enemy codes and deciphering threats, is one big blow. “Quite often, it has to seek help from foreign agencies or computer whizkids. This can compromise the system,” sources say.Will the Doval factor have an effect?With Modi’s trusted aide Ajit Doval securely saddled as National Security Advisor, there should be no ambiguity that both IB and R&AW will soon start showing better results. “As we know, Doval, as India’s best operations man, will not allow any compromise in having a robust espionage system,” said a senior official, who is part of the Multi-Agency Centre that analyses threats everyday.