New Delhi: Chiefs and deputies of several international spy organisations, including those of the UK, Germany, the US ASEAN and several central Asian countries, were in India to attend a first-of-its kind conclave organised in Delhi Sunday.
Sources in the defence and security establishment told ThePrint that the conclave was an “informal” gathering of chiefs or senior representatives of spy agencies belonging to more than three dozen countries.
Several international and regional security issues came under discussion and the aim is for the agencies to have a closer working mechanism, according to sources.
While the sources remained tight-lipped about the identities of the people attending the conclave — an initiative of India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) — it has been learned that CIA director William Burns cancelled his visit at the last moment due to personal reasons.
However, a senior representative of the agency was present, as was the chief of the UK’s external spy agency MI6, sources said.
Representatives from Israel, ASEAN, and central Asian countries were also attending, according to a source.
While international spy chiefs often come to India, sources said that this is the first time such a large meet is being organised.
Sources said that the informal conclave was addressed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who also held one-to-one meetings with several of the attendees.
It is learnt that several of those who came for the conclave will also attend the Ministry of External Affairs’s annual event, the Raisina Dialogue, which begins Monday evening.
The sources said that the conclave will be followed up through several other planned interactions.