India Internal Security | Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


There are seven Central Police Forces under the Union Government, namely

  • Assam Rifles (AR),
  • Border Security Force (BSF),
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP),
  • Sashashtra Seema Bal (SSB) and
  • National Security Guard (NSG)

Assam Rifles (AR)

Known as ‘Friends of the Hill People’, Assam Rifles, raised initially as Cachar Levy in 1835, is the oldest Police Force in the country with headquarters at Shillong.

The Force has a dual role of maintaining internal security in the North Eastern region and guarding the Indo- Myanmar Border.

The Assam Rifles contribution towards assimilation of the people of the North-East into the national mainstream is truly monumental.

They perform many roles including the provision of internal security under the control of the army through the conduct of counter insurgency and border security operations, provision of aid to the civil power in times of emergency, and the provision of communications, medical assistance and education in remote areas.

In times of war they can also be used as a combat force to secure rear areas if needed.

A helping hand for humanitarian causes and in natural calamities.

Undertakes development activities in the North-East by way of construction of roads and tracks, water sup schemes, schools, community halls, play grounds for village children and repair/ maintenance of buildings in the remote areas.

Since 2002 It is Border Guarding Force for the Indo–Myanmar border as per the government policy “one border one force” and is also its lead intelligence agency.

Border Security Force (BSF)

The Border Security Force (BSF) is the primary Border Guarding police force of India. It was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965, “for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with”.

Till 1965 India’s borders with Pakistan were manned by the State Armed Police Battalion.

BSF was raised in 1965 and the multiplicity of State forces guarding the Indian borders with the neighbouring countries was done away with.

Its operational responsibility is spread over 6385.36 kms. of international border along Indo-Pakistan, Indo-Bangladesh borders. BSF is also deployed on LoC in J&K under operational control of the Army.

It currently stands as the world’s largest border guarding force. BSF has been termed as the First Wall of Defence of Indian Territories.

BSF is the only Central Armed Police force to have its own Air Wing, Marine Wing and artillery regiments, which support the General Duty Battalions in their operations.

Three battalions of the BSF, located at Kolkata, Guwahati and Patna, are designated as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The battalions are equipped and trained for all natural disasters including combating Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) disasters.

Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)

Initially raised as Crown Representative Police on July 27, 1939 at Neemuch (MP), the Force was rechristened as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) after Independence.

The Force is presently handling a wide range of duties covering law and order, counter insurgency, anti-militancy and anti terrorism operations.

The Force plays a key role in assisting States in maintaining public order and countering subversive activities of militant groups.

The Central Reserve Police Force is the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces.

It is also operating abroad as part of United Nations peacekeeping missions.

In recent years, the Government of India has decided to use each security agency for its mandated purpose. As a result, the counter-insurgency operations in India have been mainly entrusted to the CRPF.

Rapid Action Force (RAF)

The Rapid Action Force (RAF) is a specialised wing of the CRPF.

It was established in 1991 with headquarters in New Delhi, to deal with riots, riot like situations, crowd control, rescue and relief operations, and related unrest.

The personnel in RAF are trained and equipped to be an effective Strike Force in communal riots or similar situations.

These Battalions are located at 10 communally sensitive locations across the country to facilitate quick response in case of such incidents.

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)

Raised in the year 1969, CISF is presently providing security cover to important installations like space and atomic energy establishments, sea ports, airports, coal mines, steel plants, thermal and hydel power plants, oil and petrochemicals installations, heavy industries, defence establishments, security presses, museums and historical monuments.

The specialized task of airport security was assigned to CISF in the wake of hijacking of Indian Airlines plane to Kandhar.

The charter of CISF has been expanded to provide security cover to VIPs as well as to provide technical consultancy services relating to security and fire protection to industries in public and private sectors.

After the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 2008, the mandate of the force has been broadened to provide direct security cover to private sector also by amending the CISF Act.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)

Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force was raised in the wake of India China conflict in 1962.

ITBP is a mountain trained Force. Forces are called “Himveer”.

It is deployed from the north-western extremity of the Indo-China Border upto the tri-junction of India, China & Nepal covering mountainous terrains.

Presently, battalions of ITBP are deployed on border guard duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu La in Arunachal Pradesh, on the India-China border.

ITBP plays an important role in organizing the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra besides providing assistance in disaster management in the central and western Himalayan regions. New challenging role that has emerged for ITBP is disaster management as it is the first responder for natural Disaster in Himalayas.

ITBP is in the forefront of movement for the preservation of Himalayan environment & ecology.

Being the only human presence on forward areas, it has taken on itself the task of maintaining the delicate balance of flora and fauna.

ITBP conducts a large number of medical civic action programmes in remote border and terrorist affected areas to provide free and expert medical, health and hygiene care to the civilian population in remote villages.

Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

Special Service Bureau (SSB) was set up in the early 1963 in the wake of India China conflict of 1962 to build people’s morale and inculcate spirit of resistance in the border population against threats of subversion, infiltration and sabotage from across the border.

However, the Force has now been rechristened Sashastra Seema Bal and its charter of duty has been amended. It has been given the border guarding responsibilities along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan Borders.

Role and Mandate of SSB:

  • As a border guarding force and lead intelligence agency (LIA) for Indo-Nepal border and Indo-Bhutan border.
  • To promote sense of security among the people living in the border area.
  • To prevent trans-border crimes and unauthorized entries into or exit from the territory of India.
  • To prevent smuggling and other illegal activities.

National Security Guard (NSG)

National Security Guard was raised in 1984, following Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi, “for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect States against internal disturbances”

It has been modelled on the pattern of SAS of the UK and GSG-9 of Germany. It is a task oriented Force and has two complementary elements in the form of the Special Action Group (SAG) comprising Army personnel and the Special Rangers Group (SRG) comprising personnels drawn from the Central Police/State Police Forces.

The NSG’s is trained to conduct counter terrorist task to including counter hijacking tasks on land, sea, and air; Bomb disposal (search, detection and neutralization of IEDs); PBI (Post Blast Investigation) and Hostage Rescue missions.

The primary role of this Force is to combat terrorism in whatever form it may assume in areas where activity of terrorists assumes serious proportions, and the State Police and other Central Police Forces cannot cope up with the situation.

The Force is not designed to undertake the functions of the State Police Forces or other Para Military Forces of the Union of India.

Other forces/institutions

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF):

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a police force constituted “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under The Disaster Management Act, 2005.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the “apex Body for Disaster Management” in India. The Chairman of the NDMA is the Prime Minister.

NDRF in addition to being able to respond to natural disasters, has Four battalions capable of responding to radiological, nuclear, biological and chemical disasters.

Role and Mandate of NDRF:

  • Specialized response during disasters
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards)
  • Conduct Community Capacity Building Programmes and Public Awareness Campaigns

Home Guards

Home Guards constitute a voluntary force, first raised in India in December 1946, to assist the police in controlling civil disturbances and communal riots. Subsequently, the concept of a voluntary citizens’ force was adopted by several States.

In the wake of Chinese aggression in 1962, the Centre advised the States/Union territories to merge their existing voluntary organisations into a single uniform voluntary force called Home Guards.

The role of Home Guards is to serve as an auxiliary to the police in the maintenance of internal security, help the community in emergencies such as, air-raids, fires, cyclones, earthquakes, epidemics, etc; assist the administration in the maintenance of essential services, promotion of communal harmony and protection of the weaker sections of society; and participate in socio-economic & welfare activities for the community and perform Civil Defence duties.

Home Guards are both rural and urban. In the Border States, Border Wing Home Guards Battalions (BWHGs) have been raised, which serve as an auxiliary to the Border Security Force.

Home Guards are raised under the State/UT Home Guards Acts and Rules. They are recruited from various cross-sections of people, such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, private sector organisations, college and university students, agricultural and industrial workers, etc. who devote their spare time for the organisation to help for the betterment of the community.

All citizens of India, who are in the age group of 18-50 years, are eligible to become members of Home Guards. The normal tenure of membership in the organisation is 3 to 5 years.

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) was set up in 1992 as an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, under the administrative control of MHA. The Foundation is providing assistance for the physical and psychological rehabilitation of the child victims of communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence, with special reference to their care, education and training besides promoting communal harmony, fraternity and national integration.

The Foundation also undertakes and encourages activities which promote belief in the principles of non-violence in resolving disputes between different religious and other groups in society.

Foundation also associates itself under the project ‘SAMANVAYA’ with important inter-community festivals like, “phool-walon-ki-sair” in Delhi and Nauchandi festival in Meerut, with a view to promoting better understanding, communal harmony and national integration. The Foundation provides assistance to non-government organizations under the project “Co-operation” to promote the objective of the Foundation.



National Investigative Agencies (NIA)

NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.

The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

Various Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for trial of the cases registered at various police stations of NIA under the NIA Act 2008.

The NIA Special Courts are empowered with all powers of the court of sessions under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for trial of any offense.

Supreme Court of India has also been empowered to transfer the cases from one special court to any other special court within or outside the state if the same is in the interest of justice in light of the prevailing circumstances in any particular state.

Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D)

The Bureau of Police Research & Development was set up in 1970 to identify needs and problems of police in the country, undertake appropriate research project and studies and to suggest modalities to overcome the same.

It was also mandated to keep abreast of latest developments in the fields of science and

technology, both in India and abroad, with a view to promoting the use of appropriate technology in police work as a force multiplier.

Over the years, this organization was also entrusted the responsibility of monitoring the training needs and quality in various State and Central Government police institutions, assisting States in modernization of police forces and looking after the work relating to correctional administration and its modernisation.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

Set up in 1986, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) was assigned the responsibility of crime mapping and analysis, preparing strategy for crime control and modernization of the State police forces with the mission to empower Indian Police with information technology and criminal intelligence.

Role and Mandate:

To prepare an enabling IT environment – policy framework, guidelines, architecture, best practices for Police Forces throughout the country

To obtain, compile, analyze and publish the National Crime Statistics

To obtain, process and disseminate fingerprint records of criminals including foreign criminals to establish their identity

To interact with Foreign Police Forces to share IT practices and crime information.

Central Finger Print Bureau (CFPB)

The Central Finger Print Bureau came into existence in the year 1955 to trace Inter-State/

International criminals and is doing a pioneering work in automation of fingerprints at national level by using Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was set up in 1986 under the administrative control of Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance to function as the nodal agency for taking necessary measures under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 for the purpose of preventing and combating abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and illicit traffic therein.

It has been brought under the Ministry of Home Affairs by a notification dated February 18, 2003.

NCB is also responsible for implementation of the obligations under various International Conventions in respect of countermeasures against illicit traffic, providing assistance to the concerned authorities of various countries and international organizations with a view to facilitating coordination and universal action for prevention and suppression of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. These include control over precursor chemicals, which has been brought under the ambit of NDPS Act, 1985 by an amendment to the Act in 1989. It also acts as a national repository for drug related information.

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI):

DRI is the major intelligence agency which enforces prohibition of smuggling of drugs, gold, diamonds, electronics, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian currency, etc.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence functions under the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue.

Role and Mandate:

Collection of intelligence about smuggling of contraband goods, narcotics, under-invoicing etc. through sources of India and abroad, including secret sources.

Analysis and dissemination of such intelligence to the field formations for action and working on such intelligence, where necessary.

To refer cases registered under the Customs Act to the Income Tax Department for action under the Income Tax Act

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI):

At an early stage of World War-II, the Government of India realised that vast increase in expenditure for war efforts had provided opportunities to unscrupulous and anti-social persons, both officials and non-officials, for indulging in bribery and corruption at the cost of public and the Government.

It was felt that Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies under the State Governments were

not in a position to cope with the situation. An executive order was, therefore, passed by the Government of India in 1941, setting up the Special Police Establishment (SPE).

Subsequently, Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 was brought into existence.

SPE was renamed the Central Bureau of Investigation on 1st April, 1963.

CBI derives power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. Section 2 of the Act vests DSPE with jurisdiction to investigate offences in the Union Territories only. However, the jurisdiction can be extended by the Central Government to other areas including Railway areas and States under Section 5(1) of the Act, provided the State Government accords consent under the Act.

Mandate of CBI:

  • Cases in which public servants under the control of the Central Government are involved
  • Cases in which the interests of the Central Government or of any public sector project or undertaking, or any statutory corporation or body set up and financed by the Government of India are involved.
  • Cases relating to breaches of Central Laws with the enforcement of which the Government of India is particularly concerned, e.g.
  1. Breaches of Import and Export Control Orders
  2. Serious breaches of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,
  3. Passport frauds
  4. Cases under the Official Secrets Act pertaining to the affairs of the Central Government.
  5. Cases of certain specified categories under the Defence of India Act or Rules with which the Central Government is particularly concerned.
  • Other cases of a serious nature, when committed by organized gangs or professional criminals, or cases having ramifications in several States, important cases of kidnapping of children by professional inter-state gangs, etc.
  • These cases are taken up only at the request of or with the concurrence of the State Governments/Union Territories Administrations concerned.

Intelligence Bureau (IB):

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) is India’s internal intelligence agency.

It was recast as the Central Intelligence Bureau in 1947 under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The IB was trained by the Soviet KGB from the 1950s onward until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

IB is used to garner intelligence from within India and also execute counterintelligence and counterterrorism Tasks.

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.

Research and Analysis Wing (RAW):

The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW or RAW) is the primary foreign intelligence agency of India. It was established in 1968 following the intelligence failures of the Sino-Indian and Indo-Pakistani wars, which persuaded the Government of India to create a specialised, independent agency dedicated to foreign intelligence gathering. Previously, both domestic and foreign intelligence had been the purview of the Intelligence Bureau.

The primary function of R&AW is gathering foreign intelligence and counterterrorism. In addition, it is responsible for obtaining and analysing information about foreign governments, corporations and persons to advise Indian policymakers. It is also involved in the security of India’s nuclear programme.

In 2004 Government of India added yet another signal intelligence agency called the National Technical Facilities Organisation (NTFO), which was later renamed as National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). It is believed to be functioning under the titular control of R&AW, although it remains autonomous to some degree. While the exact nature of the operations conducted by NTRO is classified, it is believed that it deals with research on imagery and communications using various platforms.

The present R&AW objectives include, and are not limited to:

  • Monitoring the political, military, economic and scientific developments in countries which have a direct bearing on India’s national security and the formulation of its foreign policy.
  • Moulding international public opinion and influence foreign governments with the help of the strong and vibrant Indian diaspora.
  • Covert Operations to safeguard India’s National interests.
  • Anti-Terror Operations and neutralising terror elements posing a threat to India


The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID is the integrated intelligence grid connecting databases of core security agencies of the Government of India to collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be readily accessed by intelligence agencies.

It was first proposed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008.

NATGRID is an intelligence sharing network that collates data from the standalone databases of the various agencies and ministries of the Indian government.

It is a counter terrorism measure that collects and collates a host of information from government databases including tax and bank account details, credit card transactions, visa and immigration records and itineraries of rail and air travel.

This combined data will be made available to 11 central agencies, which are: Research and Analysis Wing, the Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, Financial intelligence unit, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Board of Excise and Customs and the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence.

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By B2B

Revisiting the Basics

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