Amit Shah to IB: Don’t just flag problems, resolve them

THE INTELLIGENCE Bureau, which is the country’s domestic intelligence-gathering agency, should not limit itself to preparing reports but get actively involved in resolving internal security issues, from inter-state disputes to radicalisation and terrorism, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told a gathering of IB officials from across the country, The Indian Express has learnt.

Sources described the meeting, held in Delhi on November 9, as the “first of its kind” since Shah took charge of the Home Ministry in 2019 as it included the chiefs of all subsidiary intelligence bureaus under the IB apart from top central officials.

Shah is learnt to have conveyed that IB officers should utilise their skills and networks to also engage with “troublesome groups” and address other key issues such as drug trafficking.

“The Home Minister underlined that the IB has the widest networks among all agencies in the country and expressed concern that its capabilities were somewhat underutilised. He emphasised that the IB is not just supposed to flag problems and prepare reports. He was of the opinion that given the agency’s capabilities, it must get actively involved with issues and try to resolve them,” a Home Ministry official said.

Officials said the purpose of the meeting was to take stock of the IB’s functioning and spell out focus areas for future endeavours by its officers. Shah is learnt to have heard presentations from officers in about 10 states in a six-hour stretch while providing feedback and opinion on the Government’s expectations from the agency.

“This was the Home Minister’s attempt to get to know all officers posted in states and understand issues from their point of view. He also used the opportunity to directly convey the Government’s vision on internal security with officers working at the ground level,” a security official said.

In a statement issued later, the Home Ministry said extensive discussions were held on issues related to national security, including counter-terrorism, extremism, cyber-security, inter-state border disputes and cross-border elements.

“Our fight is against terrorism as well as its support system, till we do not fight strictly against both of them, victory over terrorism cannot be achieved,” the Ministry quoted Shah as having said at the meeting.

According to the statement, Shah also stressed on the need to strengthen the process of information-sharing and liaison between counter-terrorism and anti-drug agencies of states.

“We also have to make the country’s coastal security impenetrable and for this we should keep a close eye on even the smallest and most isolated port… We have to make maximum use of anti-drone technology to stop smuggling of drugs from across the border through drones,” Shah said, according to the statement.

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