Career in an investigative or intelligence agency

Does the world of secret missions, confidential information and investigative agents fascinate you? Do you imagine yourself working to save the country from external and internal enemies?

If yes, then you should probably join one of the security or intelligence agencies of India. These agencies collect and analyze information to protect the country and its citizens from various dangers including terrorism. They comprise of capable and competent officers who work in all areas concerning national security, crisis management and military operations. There are many such agencies in India who specialize in particular aspects of national security. You can work in any of these agencies as an Investigator if you have the right aptitude, ability and a desire to serve the country. All these agencies are Government organizations or autonomous bodies that are associated with the Government. Examples of such agencies are RAW, IB and NIA.

RAW (Research and Analysis Wing)

RAW or Research and Analysis Wing is India’s main Foreign Intelligence Agency. It is responsible for gathering information related to external intelligence and countering terrorism in all its forms. It plays a very important role in developing and implementing India’s foreign as well as domestic policies. RAW reports directly to the Prime Minister of the country and its operations are kept secret from the parliament, media and the public. It aims to keep a track of all developments in foreign countries that concern India’s national security and foreign policy. RAW is also responsible for carrying out secret operations to protect India’s national interests and countering terrorist threats.

IB (Intelligence Bureau)

The Intelligence Bureau is India’s Central Internal Intelligence Agency. It is responsible for countering all forms of terrorism against India and collecting vital intelligence information from within India. The IB is also responsible for carrying out activities that would ensure that intelligence agencies from foreign countries cannot collect information about India’s activities and policies from within India. The IB works under the ambit of the Ministry of Home Affairs but can report directly to the Prime Minister as well if the need arises. It operates at both the state and national level and is responsible for deploying agents across the country to collect intelligence information that is related to India’s national security, domestic policies and foreign policies.

CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)

The Central Bureau of Investigation or the CBI is India’s primary investigative police agency. It is responsible for maintaining law and order, ensuring national security and health of the economy. It is under the jurisdiction of the Government of India. The CBI is headed by an IPS officer known as the Director who has a rank of the Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police (State). The CBI is responsible for investigating offenses against the Central Government and its employees. These offences can be financial or legal in nature. It is also responsible for investigating multi – state crimes and international cases.

NTRO (National Technical Research Organization)

The National Technical Research Organization is a technical intelligence agency in India. It is responsible for monitoring imagery and communications intelligence and is also responsible for developing technologies related to the fields of cryptology, cyber security, remote sensing, aviation, hardware and software development etc. The NTRO works under the National Security Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office. The NTRO is also responsible for monitoring threats to important buildings and infrastructure across the country. The aim of the NTRO is maintain national security by using technologies like satellite monitoring, terrestrial monitoring and internet monitoring. It is responsible for giving vital intelligence information to other intelligence agencies of the country.

DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency)

The Defense Intelligence Agency or the DIA is an intelligence agency that is responsible for providing and coordinating intelligence information for the three wings of the Indian Armed Forces, i.e. the army, navy and the air force. It works under the Union Ministry of Defense. The DIA is also involved in collaborating with the IB and RAW to create a strong intelligence network. It is headed by the Director General of the DIA who is also the principal advisor to the Chief of Defense Staff and the Minister of Defense. It is superior to the intelligence agencies of the three wings of the armed forces and coordinates the activities of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, the Directorate of Air Intelligence and the Directorate of Naval Intelligence.

DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence)

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence is an intelligence agency that focuses on collecting information about illegal activities like smuggling of goods and narcotics and monitoring and investigating matters related to tax evasions. It works under the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the Ministry of Finance. The DRI is headed by a Director General in New Delhi. It is responsible for controlling and directing anti – smuggling operations all across the country. The objective of the DRI is to curb smuggling of all types of goods and eradicate tax evasions throughout India. It is concerned with matters involving customs laws and anti – narcotics laws.

Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation)

The Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) is responsible for investigating matters that are related to the violations of India’s tax laws. It is responsible for collecting and analyzing intelligence information related to the evasion of direct taxes and organizing actions to unearth ‘black money’. The Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) is also responsible for keeping a watch on all types of economic offences and studying new trends of tax evasion. It works under the Ministry of Finance of India.

How to join these agencies?

Most of the recruitment into these agencies is done by hiring the best candidates from related Government services and departments. This is important as secrecy is a vital part of the job and these intelligence agencies do not generally like to reveal the identities of their officers and staff.

The absence of a direct recruitment policy makes it possible for aspiring candidates to join these intelligence and security agencies through any of the following paths:

Join the Civil Services

The most common way to join the above agencies is to first join the Indian Civil Services. You can also join the above agencies by first joining a particular State's Civil Services.The Civil Services are responsible for looking after the administrative functions at various levels including State and National. The Indian Civil Services comprise of a wide variety of organizations within their ambit, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and the Indian Police Service (IPS) etc. If you excel in any of these services, then there are a lot of chances that you might be called up for recruitment to any of the above agencies, including RAW, IB and the DRI etc. To find out about how to join other Government Jobs, click here.

To join the Civil Services, you will have to apply and appear for the UPSC Civil Services Examination. The Examination comprises of 3 stages, namely Preliminary Examination, Main Examination and Interview. The Preliminary examination is a written examination comprising of objective type questions. If you pass in the Preliminary examination, you will have to apply and appear for the Main Examination which will consist of a written examination and an interview. You will be eligible for the examination if you are a graduate in any field from a recognized university provided that you are an Indian National and between the ages of 21 – 30. Please keep in mind that it is not easy to join the Civil Services through these exams and they are extremely competitive and only the best candidates are hired.

Look out for Vacancies

Most of the above Intelligence and Security agencies also recruit candidates as per their requirements from time to time through direct recruitment. The vacancies are advertised in India’s leading newspapers and official websites of these organizations. Candidates have to look out for these advertisements and apply whenever there is a vacancy. These advertisements mention the post for which candidates are requested to apply along with the eligibility criteria. Almost all of the above agencies use this procedure as a form of an alternate method of recruiting candidates. Please keep in mind that these vacancies are usually or entry and lower level posts, but if you have the talent and the aptitude, you will rise in the organization with time.

Join related organizations

Another route to join the above agencies is by first joining related agencies through direct recruitment. For example, to join the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), you can first join the Armed Forces and then move towards joining their specific intelligence wing. If you perform well, you will most likely be recruited by the DIA. Similarly, you can join the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) by first joining the Income Tax department as an officer and then working towards the intelligence wing. This is an extremely method of getting into the above agencies as it proves your past track record of consistent performance as well as helps you stay aware about possible vacancies and job opportunities.


Entrance Exam


Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.