Intelligence Bureau (India)

Intelligence Bureau (India)

The Intelligence Bureau is India's internal intelligence agency. The Intelligence Bureau is reputedly the world's oldest intelligence agency. [ [ Intelligence Bureau (IB) - India Intelligence Agencies ] ] It was recast as the Central Intelligence Bureau in 1947 under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The reason for the perception may be because in 1885, Major General Sir Charles MacGregor was appointed Quartermaster General and head of the Intelligence Department for the British Indian Army at Simla. The objective then was to monitor Russian troop deployments in Afghanistan, fearing a Russian invasion of British India through the North-West during the late 19th century.

In 1909, the Indian Political Intelligence Office was established in England in response to the development of Indian anarchist activities in England, which came to be called the Indian Political Intelligence (IPI) from 1921. This was a state-run surveillance and monitoring agency, the IPI was run jointly by the India Office and the Government of India and reported jointly to the Secretary of the Public and Judicial Department of the India Office, and the Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) in India, and maintained close contact with Scotland Yard and MI5.Recently a Private American Intelligence news gathering STRATFOR has listed the Indian Intelligence Bureau as one of the world's 5 Best Intelligence agencies.Fact|date=February 2008


Shrouded in secrecy, the IB is used to garner intelligence from within India and also execute counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism tasks. The intelligence bureau comprises employees from law enforcement agencies mostly Indian Police Service officers as well as from the military. The current chief of the IB is Mr P.C .Haldar . In addition to domestic intelligence responsibilities, the IB is particularly tasked with intelligence collection in border areas, following the 1951 recommendations of the Himmatsinhji Committee (also known as the North and North-East Border Committee), a task entrusted to military intelligence organisations prior to independence in 1947. The IB was also tasked with other external intelligence responsibilities as of 1951.


Understanding of the arcane workings of the IB is largely speculative. One known task of the IB is to clear licences to amateur radio enthusiasts. The IB also passes on intelligence between other Indian Intelligence agencies and the police. The IB also grants the necessary security clearances to Indian diplomats and judges before they take the oath. On rare occasions, IB officers interact with the media during crises. The IB is also rumoured to intercept and open around 6,000 letters daily.It also has a email spying similar to FBI's carnivore system. []

The Bureau is also authorised to conduct wiretapping without a warrant. This clause is mostly misused by ruling governments to spy on their political opponents, sometimes indicting them on false criminal charges. The IB also has numerous authors who write letters to various newspapers and magazines to support the government's perspective. According to a recent report the government is trying to bring in a restriction on wiretapping without a warrant.


The collection mechanisms of the IB vary depending on the region, but the IB operates both at the state level and the national level. The bulk of the intelligence collection is carried out by employees of the IB. The higher officers carry out coordination and higher-level management of the IB generally. IB has so far been divided into three categories mainly, general, technical and ministerial; from JIOs to the Joint Director. This division divides the actual tasks. But, officers from general cadres always get favoured treatment. This is because most of the intelligence gathering is done by general cadre with the technical support provided by the technical cadre and collation work is done by the ministerial cadre.

At the state level the IB has its own subsidiary unit called Subsidiary Intelligence Bureaux with head quarters at the state capital. The SIBx are headed by officers of the rank of Joint Director or above but smaller SIBx are also sometimes headed by Deputy Directors. The SIBx have their units at district head quarters headed by Deputy Central Intelligence Officers or DCIOs. The IB maintains a large number of field units and headquarters (which are under the control of Joint or Deputy Directors). It is through these offices and the intricate process of deputation that a very `organic' linkage between the state police agencies and the IB is maintained. In addition to these, at the national level the IB has several units (in some cases Subsidiary Intelligence Bureaux) to keep track of issues like terrorism, counter-intelligence, VIP security and threat assessment and sensitive areas (i.e. J&K, North East Region (NER), etc).


The IB was India's external and internal intelligence agency. Due to lapses on the part of the intelligence agencies to predict the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the IB was split up and entrusted with the task of internal intelligence. The external intelligence branch was handed to the newly created Research and Analysis Wing.

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Further reading

* MacGregor, Lady (Ed.) The Life and Opinions of Major-General Sir Charles MacGregor. 2 vols. 1888, Edinburgh
* MacGregor, General Sir Charles. The Defence of India. Simla: Government of India Press. 1884

External links

* [ article on IB]
* [ The Intelligence Bureau: India’s Prime Intelligence Agency] By Maloy Krishna Dhar

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