Difference Between IB and RAW

IB and RAW both play extremely important roles in the internal and external intelligence of India. IB stands for Intelligence Bureau and RAW stands for Research and Analysis Wing of India.

The responsibilities of these two Indian intelligence agencies often confuse people. So, it is important to have detailed knowledge about IB and RAW to understand their roles. 


The main difference between IB and RAW is that IB deals with the internal intelligence of India that includes internal security, counter-intelligence, and counter-terrorism within India and border areas. On the other hand, RAW deals with the external or foreign intelligence of India. RAW mainly focuses on counter-terrorism, covert operations, and foreign policymaking. 


IB (Intelligence Bureau) of India focuses on the internal intelligence of India and it is the oldest intelligence agency in the world.

The Britishers established IB in 1887 to spy on the Indian mutinous and various other rulers spread across different parts of India. Currently, IB mainly deals with counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence tasks. 

RAW (Research Analysis Wing of India) deals with India’s external intelligence affairs. The organization was founded in 1968 and its main focus is to keep an eye on China and Pakistan.

RAW was formed because Indian Intelligence performed very poorly in the war against China (1962) and Pakistan (1965). RAW also advises Indian policymakers on foreign policymaking. 

Comparison Table Between IB and RAW

Parameters of ComparisonIBRAW
EstablishmentIn 1887, Central Special Branch was established and in 1920 it was renamed as IB. RAW was established in 1968 after the failure of Indian Intelligence in the Sino-Indian War and the Indo-Pakistani war. 
RoleThe main role of the IB is to acquire intelligence and tackle counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence issues within the country and in the border areas. The main role of RAW is to look over issues related to counter-terrorism, collect secret information from the neighboring countries, and assist Indian policymakers. 
AdministrationIB is directly under the Home Ministry of India. RAW is answerable directly to the Prime Minister’s office. 
Geographical limitationsIB deals with internal intelligence that means issues within the country and in the border areas. RAW spies on the neighboring countries of India especially China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 
EmployeesIB hires employees from the military, Indian Police Service, and law enforcement agencies. RAW hires employees from the military, police, and also through Research and Analysis Service (RAS). 

What is IB?

IB is the oldest intelligence organization in the entire world that is currently serving as India’s internal intelligence body.

It was established in 1887 during the British Colonial rule to keep eye on various Indian rulers in various regions after the failure of Sipoy’s Mutiny in 1857. Today, IB is under the Ministry of Home Affairs and it is responsible for resolving domestic threats. 

The main responsibility of IB is counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, intelligence collection, infrastructure protection, and anti-secession activities within India and the borders.

Though IB is under the Ministry of Home Affairs, the IB Director can directly report to the Prime Minister. IB’s main concern is to tackle domestic threats but it maintains a partnership with foreign security agencies including UK, US, and Israel. 

Recruitment of personnel doesn’t take place directly into IB. The employees come from several law enforcement agencies, the Indian Police Service, and the military.

IB is responsible for keeping track of certain terrorist groups and individuals or groups with suspected terrorist ties.

In the border areas, IB works closely with the border protection forces as India shares borders with Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Bhutan, and Burma. 

What is RAW?

RAW is the external intelligence agency of India. Established in 1968, the main reason behind its foundation was India’s failure in both the Sino-Indian War and the Indo-Pakistan war.

When the organization was founded, its main focus was on China and Pakistan but over the years it has expanded its focus (creation of Bangladesh and influence in Afghanistan). 

The main responsibility of RAW is to closely spy on the neighboring countries and gather secretive information. It also assists the policymakers in making foreign policies depending on the information it gathers.

RAW also has a great influence on the security of India’s nuclear program. After three years of RAW’s establishment, the impact of the organization was observable as India won the war with Pakistan in 1971. 

When RAW was established, it only started with 250 people but with time it has hired several thousands of employees who serve as assets.

RAW is directly answerable to the Prime Minister’s office as the chief of RAW is in the Cabinet Secretariat and it is a part of the Prime Minister’s office. 

With time the objectives of RAW have evolved and presently it focuses on two things. First, closely monitoring the political and military scenario in the neighboring countries.

Second, trying to seek control on Pakistan’s military hardware supply from Europe, China, and the US. 

Main Differences Between IB and RAW

  1. IB was established in 1887 as Central Special Branch and is the world’s oldest intelligence agency. In 1920, the name of the organization was renamed IB. RAW was established in 1968 as a result of failure in the Sino-Indian War and Indo-Pakistan war by Indian Intelligence.
  2. IB is responsible for handling issues related to counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism within India and in the border areas. RAW is responsible for gathering intelligence on neighboring countries especially China and Pakistan and helps policymakers make foreign policies. 
  3. IB is under the Home Ministry of India whereas RAW answers directly to the Prime Minister’s office.
  4. IB deals with the internal intelligence that means issues within the country whereas RAW spies on international grounds especially China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 
  5. IB hires employees from the military, law enforcement agencies, and Indian Police Service whereas RAW apart from hiring military officials and Indian police hires through Research and Analysis Service (RAS). 


IB and RAW are the two most important intelligent agencies of India. While IB is responsible for governing the internal affairs of the country, RAW deals with external intelligence.

Both IB and RAW are extremely important assets of national security. They gather crucial information and contribute to counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence. 

While IB monitors closely the terrorist groups present in India and also works closely with the border police force, RAW spies on the neighboring countries to gather secretive information.

AW especially watches over Pakistan and China and it also helps the policymakers write foreign policies. 


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4416668
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08850607.2015.992754
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