For the first time in its history, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has created a separate desk for China, which till now was being handled with 20 other countries. It will function directly under National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who is also the special representative on border talks with China.
Though the main task of gathering information regarding China rests mainly with the Research and Analysis Wing, the creation of a separate desk for China speaks of the heightened importance the NDA government puts on activities of the neighbouring country, including incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Deliberations on creating a separate desk had been on since the NDA government came to power. The China desk is being headed by a joint director and has separate political and security wings.
“In some places along the LAC, we are the only (official presence). Though there are security forces present, we wanted to create a robust intelligence gathering mechanism,” said a top IB official. Syed Asif Ibrahim, under whose tenure as IB chief the China desk was created, says, “It was done to focus on border areas where the IB is the first line of defence.”
Apart from the IB, the Indo Tibetan Border Police and Army also collect intelligence along the border. “Sometimes we get conflicting reports from border areas and having another agency helps get unadulterated information,” said an IB official.
Recently the Home Ministry had promised to take steps to encourage Chinese investments in India. The Ministry of External Affairs had requested for the same to ease security clearances for Chinese firms.