Open main menu

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) is India's internal intelligence agency.[2] 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 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.

Intelligence Bureau
Emblem of India.svg
Agency overview
HeadquartersNew Delhi, Delhi, India
Mottoजागृतं अहर्निशं (English: Always Alert)
Annual budget1,876.44 crore (US$271.4 million) (2018–2019)[1]
Agency executive
Parent agencyMinistry of Home Affairs

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.

Arvind Kumar is the current director of the IB, who took over from Rajiv Jain on 26 June 2019.[3]


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 Indian Police Service (IPS) or the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and the military. However, the Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) has always been an IPS officer. In addition to domestic intelligence responsibilities, the IB is particularly tasked with intelligence collection in border areas, following the 1951 recommendations of the Himmat Singh Ji Committee (also known as the North and North-East Border Committee), a task entrusted to the military intelligence organisations prior to independence in 1947. All spheres of human activity within India and in the neighborhood are allocated to the charter of duties of the Intelligence Bureau. The IB was also tasked with other external intelligence responsibilities as of 1951 until 1968, when the Research and Analysis Wing was formed.[4]


Understanding of the shadowy workings of the IB is largely speculative. Many times even members' 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.[5] The Bureau is also authorised to conduct wiretapping without a warrant.[6]


The Group A (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 Assistant Director (AD) or Deputy Central Intelligence Officers (DCIO). 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 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 2013, a PIL was filed challenging the legality of IB.[7]

Ranks and insignia

Insignia Position in Intelligence Bureau Position in police service
  Director Intelligence Bureau[a] none
  Special Director[b] Director general of police
Additional Director Additional director general of police
  Joint Director Inspector general of police
  Deputy Director Deputy inspector general of police
  Joint Deputy Director Senior Superintendent of Police
  Assistant Director Superintendent of Police
  Deputy Central Intelligence Officer Additional superintendent of police
  Assistant Central Intelligence Officer I Deputy Superintendent of Police
  Assistant Central Intelligence Officer II Inspector of Police
  Junior Intelligence Officer I Sub-Inspector of Police
  Junior Intelligence Officer II Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police
  Security Assistant Head Constable

Besides the above posts, there are various other supporting and office posts in the Bureau as well.


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 onward 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.[8]

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.[9] Heavy politics, under-funding and a shortage of 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.[10][11]

Media portrayal

The Intelligence Bureau has been depicted in films such as Bad Aur Badnaam (Hindi, 1984), Mukhbiir (Hindi, 2008), Vande Matharam (Tamil, 2010), Kahaani (Hindi, 2012), Jism 2 (Hindi, 2012), Iru Mugan (Tamil, 2016), and Spyder (Tamil, Telugu, 2017).

IB also featured in the Sony TV Series Yudh starring Amitabh Bachchan.

See also


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


  1. ^ Highest ranking IPS Officer
  2. ^ Four Star rank officer


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Intelligence Bureau (IB) - India Intelligence Agencies". 30 May 2008. Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Balakot strategist Samant Goel is new RAW chief, Kashmir expert Arvind Kumar IB director". India Today. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Nehchal Sandhu new IB director". Indian Express. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Republic of India". Archived from the original on 3 December 2010.
  6. ^ "The secret world of phone tapping". India Today. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Explain Intelligence Bureau's legality, HC tells Centre". The Times of India. 26 March 2012.
  8. ^ Shaffer, Ryan (2015). "Unraveling India's Foreign Intelligence: The Origins and Evolution of the Research and Analysis Wing". International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence. 28 (2): 252–289. doi:10.1080/08850607.2015.992754.
  9. ^ "IB, R&AW brass almost got the sack after 26/11".
  10. ^ "New IB chief has his task cut out - Thaindian News". 9 December 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  11. ^ Sudha Ramachandran. "Security cracks and the remedy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010.

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. Shimla: Government of India Press. 1884.
  • Kulkarni. Sin of National Conscience. 2005.

External links