- AS Dulat is former chief of India's external intelligence agency R&AW
- He co-authored a book with Pakistan's spymaster General Asad Durrani
- General Durrani writes about limitations of technical intelligence
''In public perception, not getting Dawood, Hafiz Saeed or Masood Azhar are glaring failures. But if instead of putting out a supari (contract killing) for Dawood, you 'turned' the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) station chief in Delhi, that in intelligence would be a much bigger thing, says Mr Dulat in a book titled 'Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace'.
In an interview to NDTV, Mr Dulat, who has co-authored the book with one of Pakistan's well-known spymasters General Asad Durrani, says ''I don't think it (getting a Pakistani spy to become a double agent) has ever happened. I am not in the know of it but we have been very sceptical in our community whether it is in the R&AW or in the IB (Intelligence Bureau) about double agents. I think double agents provide about the best intelligence you can get.''
The book, put together by journalist Aditya Sinha, is based on a series of conversations between Mr Dulat and General Durrani that took place in cities like Istanbul, Bangkok and Kathmandu in 2016. It's due for release later this week.
At the same time, the General does admit that the ISI did not always have the technical means to monitor areas of interest, like India's nuclear-test range in Pokhran.
''It became clear as soon as the BJP came to power in 1997, I went openly and said they are likely to conduct a nuclear test because that is how the things were building up. Though we may have been generally correct, we did not have the means to watch that area,'' he told NDTV.
''It was a setback,'' said Mr Dulat, recounting a conversation he had with his predecessor, asking him whether revealing the conversation was a mistake by the Indian government.
"He said, 'well it's too late. It is a political call and the politicians have decided that it will be made public'. I thought it should not have been done. It was a very big scoop and we got lucky,'' Mr Dulat told NDTV.
Mr Dulat also said the conversation indicated that then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may not have had the full idea about the nature of the Kargil conflict.
''There was a question that General Musharraf asked from Beijing --- 'I hope the politicians are alright, not too shaken up by what has happened'. This connects to another question that has often been raised --- whether Nawaz Sharif knew about what was happening? It seems that he knew about certain things but he did not have the whole picture,'' said Mr Dulat.
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.