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  • The various armed forces of the Union of India have separate mandates and are handled by different ministries.
  • The majority of the external security threats in India are managed by the Ministry of Defence with the help of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Most of the internal security challenges and their management in border areas are also handled by both the Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry. Internal security threats such as insurgencies, separatism and riots etc are the primary responsibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The security forces which handle different threats in India are classified into the Indian Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces of India and the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • India also has dedicated Special Forces within each security force as well as two specialized Anti-Terrorism, Urban Warfare and VIP protection units.


  • The Government of India is responsible for ensuring the defence of India and every part thereof.
  • The Supreme Command of the Indian Armed Forces vests in the President.
  • The responsibility for national defence rests with the Cabinet.
  • This is discharged through the Ministry of Defence, which provides the policy framework and wherewithal to the Armed Forces to discharge their responsibilities in the context of the defence of the country.
  • The Indian Armed Forces comprise of :
    • Indian Army
    • Indian Navy
    • Indian Air Force
    • Indian Coast Guard


There are seven Central Police Forces under the Union Government.

Assam Rifles (AR)

    • The Assam Rifles came into being in 1835, as a militia called the ‘Cachar Levy’, to primarily protect British Tea estates and their settlements against tribal raids.
    • This Force significantly contributed in opening the region to administration and commerce and over time they came to be known as the “right arm of the civil and left arm of the military”.
    • The Post-Independence role of the Assam Rifles continued to evolve ranging from conventional combat role during Sino-India War 1962, operating in foreign land as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka in 1987 (Op Pawan) to peacekeeping role in the North-Eastern areas of India.  SECURITY FORCES AND THEIR MANDATE
  • 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)
      • The Central Reserve Police Force came into existence as Crown Representative’s Police on 27th July 1939. It became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28th December 1949.
      • The mission of the Central Reserve Police Force is to enable the government to maintain Rule of Law, Public Order and Internal Security effectively and efficiently, to Preserve National Integrity and Promote Social Harmony and Development by upholding the supremacy of the Constitution.
      • Broad duties being performed by the CRPF are:
        • Crowd control
        • Riot control
        • Counter Militancy / Insurgency operations.
        • Dealing with Left Wing Extremism
        • Overall coordination of large scale security arrangement especially with regard to elections in disturbed areas.
        • Fighting enemy in the event of War.
        • Participating in UN peacekeeping Mission as per Govt. policy.
        • Rescue and Relief operations at the time of Natural Calamities and disasters
      • With 246 battalions and various other facilities, the CRPF is considered the largest paramilitary force in India and has been sanctioned by more than 300,000 staff since 2019.
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
    • The CISF came into existence in 1969 with a modest beginning, having three battalions, to provide integrated security cover to the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
    • With globalization and liberalization of the economy, CISF is no longer a PSU-centric organization. Instead, it has become a premier multi-skilled security agency of the country, mandated to provide security to major critical infrastructure installations of the country in diverse areas.
    • CISF is currently providing security cover to nuclear installations, space establishments, airports, seaports, power plants, sensitive Government buildings and ever heritage monuments.
    • Among the important responsibilities recently entrusted to the CISF are the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, VIP Security, Disaster Management and establishment of a Formed Police Unit (FPU) of the UN at Haiti.
    • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)
      • The Indo-Tibetan Border Police was established after the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict. It was created under the CRPF Act. It guards the Indo-Tibetan border and the mountainous regions of the India-China border and monitor the northern borders. It detects and prevents border violations. The force also keeps a check on illegal immigration and trans-border smuggling. It has been deployed in UN peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Western Sahara, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Sudan.
  • Sashashtra Seema Bal (SSB)
    • The Sashastra Seema Bal was set up in 1963. They guard Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan Borders. They are also deployed during elections as polling booth security. Previously, it was known as the Special Service Bureau and they are deployed to control anti-national activities and inculcate feelings of national belonging in the border population among others. It also acts against 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.


  • The term “paramilitary forces” in India has not been defined in any act of parliament or by the authorities.
  • Since 2011, the Government of India uses an unofficial definition that the Paramilitary forces are the ones that assist the military forces and are headed by Military officers, not by IPS officers.
  • Informally it is used, when we talk about:
    • Indian Coast Guard Personnel – Indian Armed Force
    • Assam Rifles (AR) – CAPF
    • Special Frontier Force (SFF) – Intelligence

Central Intelligence And Investigative Agencies | SECURITY FORCES AND THEIR MANDATE

National Investigation Agency (NIA)

    • National Investigation Agency (NIA) is the central agency to combat terror in India. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
    • The National Investigation Agency Bill 2008 to create the agency was moved in Parliament by Union Home Minister on 16 December 2008.
    • The NIA was created in response to the Nov 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was found. It also deals with drug trafficking and currency counterfeiting.It draws it’s officers from IRS and IPS.
  • 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.
  • Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI)
    • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is India’s premier investigative agency, responsible for a wide variety of criminal and national security matters.
    • It was established on 1 April 1963 and evolved from the Special Police Establishment founded in 1941.
    • The Central Bureau of Investigation is controlled by the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension of the Union Government usually headed by a Union Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister.
    • It is India’s official Interpol unit. The CBI draws its officers from the best IPS and IRS officers around the country. It is responsible for investigation into various crimes and national security.
    • The agency specializes in investigating crimes involving high ranking government officials and politicians.
    • 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.
  • Central Forensic Science Laboratory
    • The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) is a wing of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, which fulfils the forensic requirements in the country. It houses the only DNA repository in South and Southeast Asia.
    • There are four central forensic laboratories in India, at Hyderabad, Kolkata,Mumbai,Rajkot, Chandigarh,Pune and New Delhi. CFSL Hyderabad is centre of excellence in chemical sciences, CFSL Kolkata in biological sciences and CFSL Chandigarh in physical sciences. These laboratories are under the control of the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS) of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The laboratory in New Delhi is under the control of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and investigates cases on its behalf. 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.
  • 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 obtain, process and disseminate fingerprint records of criminals including foreign criminals to establish their identity
      • To prepare an enabling IT environment – policy framework, guidelines, architecture, best practices for Police Forces throughout the country
      • To interact with Foreign Police Forces to share IT practices and crime information.
      • To obtain, compile, analyze and publish the National Crime Statistics
      • 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).

Other Law Enforcement Agencies | SECURITY FORCES AND THEIR MANDATE

  • 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:
      • To refer cases registered under the Customs Act to the Income Tax Department for action under the Income Tax Act
      • 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.  SECURITY FORCES AND THEIR MANDATE
    • 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.
    • Railway Protection Force (RPF)
      • Railway Protection Force is a security force of India entrusted with protecting railway passengers, passenger area and property of the Indian Railways.
      • This is the only Central Armed Police Force which has the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute criminals.
    • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)
      • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was set up under The Disaster Management Act, 2005.
      • It was constituted for the function of specialist response to natural and man-made disasters.
      • The aim of the National Disaster Management Authority is to construct a safer and disaster resilient India by rising a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster and technology-driven strategy for disaster management. It is a force composed of 12 battalions.
      • It is manned by persons on deputation from various CAPFs and also re-employs physically fit members of the armed forces who have retired but are still under reserve liability.


Internal security

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