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Intelligence Bureau (India)

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Title: Intelligence Bureau (India)  
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Subject: Directorate of Military Intelligence (India), Indian Police Service, Indian Armed Forces, Defence Intelligence Agency (India), List of Indian intelligence agencies
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Intelligence Bureau (India)

Intelligence Bureau
खुफिया ब्यूरो
Agency overview
Formed 1887
Headquarters New Delhi
Motto जागृतं अहर्निशं
Employees Classified
Agency executive Syed Asif Ibrahim, Director Intelligence Bureau
Parent agency Ministry of Home Affairs
Website .in.nic.mhawww

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) (Devanāgarī: खुफिया ब्यूरो, khūphiyā byūro) is India's internal intelligence agency and reputedly the world's oldest intelligence agency.[1] 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 revolutionary activities, 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.

Serving since December 2012, Syed Asif Ibrahim is the current director of the IB.[2]


  • Responsibilities 1
  • Activities 2
  • Workings 3
  • Constitutionality 4
  • Ranks and insignia 5
  • Operations 6
  • Media portrayal 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Footnotes 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12


Shrouded in secrecy, the IB is used to garner intelligence from within India and also execute counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism tasks. The Bureau comprises employees from law enforcement agencies, mostly from the Research and Analysis Wing was formed.[3]


Understanding of the shadowy workings of the IB is largely speculative. Many a times even their own family members are unaware of their whereabouts. 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 Bureau 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 a crisis situation. The IB is also rumoured to intercept and open around 6,000 letters daily. It also has an email spying system similar to FBI's Carnivore system.[4] The Bureau is also authorised to conduct wiretapping without a warrant.[5]


The Class 1 (Gazetted) officers carry out coordination and higher-level management of the IB. Subsidiary Intelligence Bureaus (SIBs) are headed by officers of the rank of Joint Director or above, but smaller SIBs are also sometimes headed by Deputy Directors. The SIBs have their units at district headquarters headed by Deputy Central Intelligence Officers (DCIO)or ACIO(Assistant Central Intelligence Officer). 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 SIBs) to keep track of issues like terrorism, counter-intelligence, VIP security, threat assessment and sensitive areas (i.e. Jammu and Kashmir and such). IB officers (like their counterparts in R&AW ) get monthly special pays and an extra one-month salary every year, as well as better promotions.


IB was created on 23 December 1887, by the then British Secretary of State as a sub-sect of the Central Special Branch but there is no act of the Indian parliament nor executive order relating to the functioning of the IB. In 2012, a PIL was filed challenging the legality of IB.[6]

Like other intelligence agencies, IB is also suffering from lack of parliamentary oversight and legal framework governing its functioning.[7] A Private Bill titled Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011 was introduced by then union minister Manish Tiwari.[8] However, it was withdrawn at the instance of then prime minister of India. Other suggestions have also been given [9] in this regard but till the month of September 2014 there is no sign of any legal framework for IB. Intelligence infrastructure of India needs transparency and strengthening [10] and reforms.[11] A balance between national security requirements and civil liberties protection must also be maintained by India.[12]

Ranks and insignia

Insignia of Director Intelligence Bureau
Ranks of Gazetted Officers (Group 'A')

Ranks of Officers in (Group 'B')

Officers in Group 'C'.

There are different ranks of executives which adhere for managing and executing the goals of the organisation. Sometimes executives are compared with state police service ranks which are different from the ranks in IB.


The Intelligence Bureau reportedly has a lot of successes to its credit, but operations conducted by the IB are rarely declassified. Due to the extreme secrecy surrounding the agency, there is little concrete information available about it or its activities. The IB was trained by the Soviet KGB from the 1950s on wards until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The IB was initially India's internal and external intelligence agency. Due to lapses on the part of the Intelligence Bureau to predict the Sino-Indian War of 1962, and later on, intelligence failure in the India-Pakistan War in 1965, it was bifurcated in 1968 and entrusted with the task of internal intelligence only. The external intelligence branch was handed to the newly created Research and Analysis Wing.

The IB has had mixed success in counter-terrorism. It was reported in 2008 that the IB had been successful in busting terror modules. It alerted the police before the Hyderabad blasts and gave repeated warnings of a possible attack on Mumbai through the sea before the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. On the whole, however, the IB came in for some sharp criticism by the media after the relentless wave of terror attacks in 2008. The government came close to sacking top intelligence officials soon after 26/11 attacks because of serious lapses that led to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[13] Heavy politics, under-funding and a shortage of professional field agents are the chief problems facing the agency. The overall strength of the agency is believed to be around 25,000, with 3500-odd field agents operating in the entire country. Of these, many are engaged in political intelligence.[14][15]

Media portrayal

The Intelligence Bureau has been depicted in films such as Sarfarosh (Hindi,1999), Vande Matharam (Tamil, 2010), Bad Aur Badnaam (Hindi, 1984), Kahaani (Hindi, 2012), Jism 2 (Hindi, 2012), Mukhbiir(Hindi,2008). Thuppaki (Tamil, Telugu, 2012), Singham Returns (2014) IB also featured in Sony TV Series "Yudh" starring Amitabh Bachchan

See also


  1. ^ "Intelligence Bureau (IB) - India Intelligence Agencies". 30 May 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Sandeep Joshi (26 November 2012). "Today's Paper / NATIONAL : IB, RAW get new chiefs". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Nehchal Sandhu new IB director". Indian Express. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Republic of India". Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "The secret world of phone tapping". India Today. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Explain Intelligence Bureau's legality, HC tells Centre". The Times of India. 26 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Intelligence Agencies Of India Need Parliamentary Oversight". Civil Liberties Protection In Cyberspace. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Central Bureau Of Investigation Act, 2010: A Political Fiasco And PMO Indifference". Civil Liberties Protection In Cyberspace. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Intelligence Infrastructure Of India Needs Transparency And Strengthening". Civil Liberties Protection In Cyberspace. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Intelligence Agencies Reforms In India Are Urgently Needed". International Legal Issues Of Cyber Attacks, Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Espionage, Cyber Warfare And Cyber Crimes. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "India Must Reconcile Civil Liberties And National Security Requirements". Centre Of Excellence For Cyber Security Research And Development In India (CECSRDI). 25 April 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "IB, R&AW brass almost got the sack after 26/11". 
  13. ^ "New IB chief has his task cut out - Thaindian News". 9 December 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Sudha Ramachandran. "Security cracks and the remedy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. 


  • "World Intelligence and Security Agencies". December 2006. 

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
  • Kulkarni, Sin of National Conscience,2005.

External links

  • The Intelligence Bureau: India’s Prime Intelligence Agency By Maloy Krishna Dhar
  • Intelligence Agencies Of India Need Parliamentary Oversight
  • Intelligence Agencies Reforms In India Are Urgently Needed
  • Intelligence Infrastructure Of India Needs Transparency And Strengthening
  • 10 Points Legal Framework For Law Enforcement And Intelligence Agencies In India
  • Intelligence Agencies Of India Demand Legal Immunity Against Cyber Deterrent Acts
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