Muslim to head India’s domestic spy agency in historic first

For the first time in the history of India, a Muslim officer has been selected to head the country’s domestic intelligence agency. The Intelligence Bureau (IB), one of India’s most powerful intelligence organizations, will be led by Syed Asif Ibrahim, one of relatively few Muslim senior officers serving in the country’s predominantly Hindu security and intelligence apparatus. It will be the first time that the IB, which was formed in 1877 under British colonial rule, and today operates under the Ministry of Home Affairs, will be led by a Muslim. Formerly a senior officer in the Indian Police Service, Ibrahim, 59, has served for years in the IB’s Directorate of Operations, and recently served as the Bureau’s Chief of Station at the Indian High Commission in London, United Kingdom. His supervisory experience includes roles in the IB’s counter-cyberespionage and counterterrorism units. IntelNews hears that Ibrahim is widely seen by Indian intelligence officers as someone with a “crystal-clear understanding” of Islamic-inspired militancy inside the country. Ibrahim’s appointment was announced late last week by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, a senior government body lead by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Following the announcement, observers noted that at least four IB officials, who had been tipped for the job of director and were above Ibrahim in terms of seniority, were assigned to positions outside the Bureau, ostensibly to clear the way for Ibrahim’s appointment. Mumbai-based news portal Rediff spoke to an unnamed Indian intelligence official, who said that, although Ibrahim is widely seen as a “professional and an outstanding officer with the widest range of experience […], there could be a debate on the issue of seniority”. Specifically, some in the IB believe that the criteria for seniority were used “selectively” in Ibrahim’s appointment. But India’s Muslim community appears to have welcomed the news. Rediff quoted Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, president of the All-India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (the umbrella body of Indian Muslim groups), who sees Ibrahim’s appointment as “a new beginning” and hopes “it will help alter the image f the IB, which is normally seen as a bastion of upper-caste Hindus”. Ibrahim’s appointment is expected to be officially announced today, Monday. Ibrahim will formally succeed the IB’s outgoing Director, Nehchal Sandhu, on December 31. He is expected to remain on the post for at least two years following his appointment.

6 Responses to Muslim to head India’s domestic spy agency in historic first

  1. Pete says:

    What with a Sikh as the long term Indian Prime Minister, and now a Muslim head of IB, some of India’s majority Hindus might feel a little by-passed.

  2. naeem sayed says:

    Pete: You’re so 2-D! Get real man, if he is the best choice, live with it :0)

  3. Hoa says:

    说道:You actually make it apaepr so easy with your presentation however I find this matter to be really one thingwhich I feel I might by no means understand. It sortof feels too complicated and extremely wide for me.I’m taking a look ahead on your subsequent post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  4. I have known Shri Asif Ibrahim while he was on the personal staff of late Madhavrao Scindia , Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism, during early 90s’. Along with him, there was one shri Prashant Mehta, IAS, who made the Minister’s Sectt worthy of Emulation. Their conduct was polite at all times and Courtesy immaculate. This endeared them to every one. Asif is known for his humility and grace, while conducting himself in the office. I feel some what embarrased to see the Tag of Muslim attached to his position. He has earned the position by virtue of his performance and selection. I wish him well and good luck in this assignment. But one cannot deny that he happens to be the First muslim officer holding the coveted post of an IB Director. Speaks volumes of India’s Secular Credentials.

    Air Vice Marshal ( Rtd) Hamid Shahul,
    Former Chairman,
    Airports Authority of India.

  5. intelNews says:

    @Mr. Shahul: Thank you for your insightful comment. The association of Mr. Asif with his religion was not meant to embarrass him or attack his professional value. On the contrary, it points both to his personal success and to the egalitarian character of the Indian state. Those of us who wish to see peace established across the wider region are very much encouraged by Mr. Asif’s ascendance to the post of IB Director. Thank you again for sharing your view. [JF]

  6. Syed Asif Ibrahim is one of the most prominent officer in this country. The role he played during his tenure was very crucial in terms of national security.

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