The government has ordered the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to protect its external spy agency, Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), a move prompted by heightened security threats.
The spy agency had asked for professional security cover for its headquarters in Delhi and some other installations a few months back.
“There was a request for CISF cover from the cabinet secretariat. It has been accepted,” a government source told HT on Thursday, a day after the home ministry reversed its decision to remove the CISF from the CGO complex.
Once the decision is implemented, it will bring the country’s entire intelligence establishment under the CISF’s watchful eyes. Intelligence Bureau offices are already guarded by the CISF.
Officials said the CISF would replace the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that had been carrying out access control duties at the R&AW headquarters. But this was more of an internal arrangement.
Set up in 1963 in the backdrop of the Indo-China war the previous year, the SSB was raised as a non-combatised force under the cabinet secretariat and has been treated as an extension of the R&AW formed in 1968.
Mounting terror threats prompted a review of the security preparedness at the R&AW’s headquarters and other key offices. Sources said the joint security survey of the installations had been completed and the deployment pattern finalised.
The SSB — that has been trying to expose its personnel to anti-insurgency duties — is preparing to move out.
The SSB will also have to withdraw from security duties at the National Security Council Secretariat to make way for the CISF, that had initially been set up to protect public sector installations but was allowed to guard private sector installations too after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.