For The First Time, India’s Faceless, Nameless Agents Awarded For Excellence In Work(Hari Mangayil/Wikimedia Commons)

The Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence agency, for the first time in 132 years recognised its officers and those in the state intelligence wings for exceptional performance with a medal of its own - Asadharan Aasuchna Kushalta Padak (medal for extraordinary intelligence gathering), reports Hindustan Times.

The report cited a senior police official as saying that three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and 34 other intelligence officers were the first recipients of the gallantry medal, given for exceptional counter-terror operations, services in Jammu and Kashmir, cracking down on terror funding, and operations against Maoists and militant groups in the north-east. However, these officers cannot be named because of the confidential nature of the work they do.

According to the report, earlier in December 2012, IB had quietly put up a small memorial inside its South Delhi headquarters in memory of officers killed in the line of duty.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in 2016, had reportedly formed a committee to look into the demand of intelligence community about the need to recognise the work done by its officers.

Explaining the rationale behind institution of the medal, a senior MHA official was quoted in the report as saying, “Intelligence officers put their lives in harm’s way. Besides, how do you encourage specialisation in critical fields if they are not recognised.”

Accordingly, the government decided to institute the medal with very little hype. One of the stated goals of the move is to “Promote Excellence”. However, the Asadharan Aasuchna Kushalta Padak, unlike the service and gallantry medals of the military, will be awarded only once during an individual’s entire career.

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