During the colonial period, the Government of India’s Intelligence Bureau, usually known as the Delhi Intelligence Bureau (DIB), was a small police unit that effectively controlled the security infrastructure of the entire country and ran sources in most subversive organizations. During World War II, the DIB expanded with the assignment of military personnel.
Several of the senior figures in the British intelligence establishment cut their teeth countering subversion in India, including Sir David Petrie, the director of the Intelligence Bureau from 1924 to 1931 and the author of a secret report, Communism in India, 1924–1927, who was later appointed director-general of MI5 (1940–46).
One of his subordinates, Felix Cowgill, updated the document in 1935 for Petrie’s successor, Sir Horace Williamson, and later was posted back to England to the Secret Intelligence Service’s counterintelligence branch, Section V, then headed by Valentine Vivian, who himself had retired from the Indian Police in 1925 after 19 years of experience. Another influential figure in the British intelligence community in London was Sir Philip Vickery, another Indian intelligence chief, demonstrating that the intelligence establishment was staffed in large measure by professionals who had acquired ample experience resisting Soviet-inspired political subversion that had been infiltrated into the jewel in the British Empire’s crown from Persia, China, and Afghanistan.
Since independence in 1948, India’s principal intelligence agency has been the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which was created in 1968 within the Cabinet Secretariat and is accountable directly to the prime minister. RAW’s main collection targets are Pakistan and Bangladesh, with an emphasis on protecting Indian interests in Kashmir and the Punjab, both states under threat from separatists and insurgents supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. In addition, India operates a cryptographic agency, the Joint Cipher Bureau, at Charbatia.