Indian security and intelligence agencies and their mandate

Indian security and intelligence agencies and their mandate

India has been the victim of large scale terrorism, like the Mumbai Terror Attacks, sponsored from across the borders. There have been innumerable incidents in the form of terrorist attacks and bomb blasts, etc., in various parts of the country. 

This article of General Studies would throw light upon a few topics in General Studies Paper 3 namely various security forces and their mandate. This piece in particular would speak about some of the Indian Security, Indian Intelligence Agencies and the Indian Border forces and the duties they perform. This could be an important topic because of the rise in security issues not only in the world but also in India. The information gathered in here is from authentic government sources.

India has been the victim of large scale terrorism, like the Mumbai Terror Attacks, sponsored from across the borders. There have been innumerable incidents in the form of terrorist attacks and bomb blasts, etc., in various parts of the country.

After several deliberations, by experts and Committees, including the Administrative Reforms commission the NIA Act was enacted on 31-12-08 and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was born.

The terrorist crimes are inter-state in character and at times have International routes and ramifications too as a result synergy between various central and state investigation agencies and cooperation with even foreign agencies is also vital to investigate such crimes thus the imperative for National Investigation Agency.

NIA is the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India. The National Investigation Agency is given the authority, at the national level, to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of State, friendly relations with foreign States and offences under Acts enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

It is to provide assistance to, and seek assistance from other intelligence and investigation agencies of the Central Government and State Governments. Initially NIA was a Delhi centric organisation but now it has branches at Hyderabad, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kochi and Lucknow. It deals with scheduled offences relating to:

  • The Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962);
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967);
  • The Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 (65 of 1982);
  • The Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982 (66 of 1982);
  • The SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1993 (36 of 1993);
  • The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 (69 of 2002);
  • The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005 (21 of 2005);
  • Offences under
  • Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) [sections 121 to 130 (both inclusive)];
  • Sections 489-A to 489-E (both inclusive) of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

As far as jurisdiction of the NIA is concerned Officers of the NIA have all powers, privileges and liabilities throughout India which the police officers have in connection with investigation of any offence. The NIA takes up a case to investigate and prosecute offences.

One of the circumstances in which a case is directed to the NIA is if the police officer in charge of a police station on receipt of the report of the offence forwards it to the state government which in turn sends it to the Centre and if the Centre feels the offence is terror related, it shall direct the NIA for investigation.

The other circumstances are that the Central Government may also, on its own, direct the Agency to investigate a Scheduled Offence if it is of the opinion that the offence is required to be investigated under the NIA Act. The Agency may also investigate any other offence which the accused is alleged to have committed if the offence is connected with the Scheduled Offence.

It is mandatory for the State Government to extend all assistance and co-operation to the Agency for investigation of the Scheduled Offences. The NIA may also ask the State Government to associate itself with the investigation.

And, after investigating the matter, if the Agency finds that the matter is not so important, it may, with the previous approval of the Central Government, transfer the case to the State Government for investigation and trial of the offence.

Provisions of the Act with regard to investigation shall not affect powers of the state government to investigate and prosecute any terror crime or other offences. The Centre constitutes special courts for trial of terror-related offences. It has set up 39 special courts across the country to take up cases registered by National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is India's primary external intelligence agency was formed in September 1968 after it became apparent that the newly independent Republic of India lacked a credible external intelligence gathering agency after the Indo-China War of 1962 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

Its primary function is the collection of external intelligence, counter-terrorism, sabotage, counter-sabotage and covert external operations. It is also responsible for obtaining and analysing information about foreign governments, corporations and individuals, in order to assess and advise Indian foreign policymakers.

Some of the objectives of the R&AW are:

  • To monitor political and military developments in adjacent countries, including China and Pakistan, which have a direct or indirect bearing upon India's national security and upon the formulation of its foreign policy.
  • To make the control and limitation of the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, mostly from European countries, the USA and China, a priority.
  • To gather intelligence on leadership, capabilities and organisation of various insurgency groups operating in adjacent states that pose a national security or integrity threat, and to thwart these using covert operations, assassinations, sabotage, indirect political coercion and exo-agent and inter-agent collusion where possible.
  • To further geo-political goals, encourage a strategic balance and evince a deterrence of external collusion with domestic insurgency groups by establishing working relationships with secessionist agencies abroad.
  • To provide security for India's nuclear program.
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