Directorate of Military Intelligence (India)

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Directorate of Military Intelligence Corps
Active1941 – present
CountryIndia India
Branch Indian Army
TypeMilitary intelligence
HeadquartersSena bhawan, New Delhi
EngagementsWorld War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-China War of 1962
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Afghan Civil War (1996–2001)
Kargil War
2016 Indian Line of Control strike
Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Strategy)Lt Gen. Paramjit Singh Sangha[1]

The Directorate of Military Intelligence (M.I.) is the Intelligence arm of the Indian Army.[2] The primary mission of military intelligence is to provide timely, relevant, accurate, and synchronized intelligence support to tactical, operational and strategic-level needs of the army.

It is also conducts counter-intelligence activities to detect, identify and neutralize adversarial intelligence threats inside Indian Army.[3]


The agency was set up in 1941 as part of the erstwhile British Indian Army to generate field intelligence for the army, in WW2. After Independence, M.I. was initially tasked with generating only tactical or field intelligence in all countries bordering India.

In 1978, the directorate was involved in the Samba spy scandal, wherein it was later found that the directorate had falsely implicated three Indian Army officers as Pakistani spies.[4][5]

Indian Intelligence agencies have been often embroiled in turf wars, with the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing locked in constant power struggle. The M.I. too has lost turf to two new intelligence agencies, the National Technical Research Organisation and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), created in the aftermath of the Kargil Conflict to address the intelligence failures that led to massive cross border infiltration. The D.I.A. took away some of its signal monitoring capabilities and foreign military attaches who used to report to the M.I.[2]

During the mid-1990s, the organisation began playing an increasing role in countries within the subcontinent and its outer periphery.[2]


Approximately 3,700 military personnel assigned to intelligence duties. These personnel are trained at Military Intelligence Training School and Depot (MINTSD), Pune.[6]

The operational geographical mandate of the organization is set to 50 km from the border.[citation needed]


The agency gathered momentum in the 1990s especially after the Kargil War with Pakistan. The army had to handle the poor quality tactical intelligence provided by the Intelligence Bureau and R&AW. Hence the M.I.'s mandate was ultimately boosted.[citation needed]

M.I. operatives moved into Tajikistan and later into Afghanistan in support of the Ahmad Shah Massoud–led Northern Alliance that overthrew the Taliban in 2001 with the aid of the US-led coalition forces in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and the subsequent War in Afghanistan. [2]

M.I. was also active in Myanmar, which nurtured insurgent groups. In 1998, a M.I. operative impersonated a Khalistani terrorist and infiltrated a gun-running Myanmar insurgent group. He led them into a death trap in the Andaman.[7] Operation Leech, as the operation was called, marked the start of the outreach of the Indian Army to the Burmese junta in the 1990s. It also aimed to offset the expanding footprint of China on the eastern border of India.[2][7]

M.I. has carried out operations in Bangladesh too because of safe sanctuaries provided to insurgent groups like the United Liberation Front of Assam (U.L.F.A.), the United National Liberation Front of Manipur (U.N.L.F.) and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.[8] Within months of the Hasina government taking over in 2009, the entire leadership of the U.L.F.A. and the U.N.L.F. was handed over to Indian authorities.[2]

In January 2012, the M.I. warned Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, about a coup brewing in the Bangladeshi Army which was ultimately foiled.[2]

Since 2005, M.I. is also involved in hundreds of cross-border counter terrorism strikes across LOC, into Pakistan. Most notable being 2016 Surgical strike.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lt. Gen. Sangha took over as DGMO
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Unnithan, Sandeep (28 January 2012). "The Secret Secret Service". India Today. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  3. ^ Unnithan, Sandeep (6 February 2012). "How Indian Army's Military Intelligence Directorate works". India Today. Living Media India Limited. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  4. ^ "The Samba Case, the Indian army's darkest chapter". Reddif. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  5. ^ Chawla, Prabhu (1 February 2014). "Samba spy case takes dramatic turn as officers challenge dismissal order in HC". India Today. Living Media India Limited. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Military intelligence training school completes 75 years". Times Of India. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b Goel, Kritika. "Operation Leech: What Was This Military Op & What Went Down?". The Quint. Quintillion Media Pvt Ltd. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  8. ^ Swami, Praveen (26 December 2011). "India's secret war in Bangladesh". The Hindu. The Hindu Group. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  9. ^ Negi, Manjeet Singh. "Surgical strikes in PoK: How Indian para commandos killed 50 terrorists, hit 7 camps". India Today. Living Media India Limited. Retrieved 23 June 2020.