National Technical Research Organisation

National Technical Research Organisation
Agency overview
Formed 2004
Headquarters New Delhi, Delhi, India
Agency executive
Parent agency National Security Advisor

The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)[1] is a technical intelligence agency under the National Security Advisor in the Prime Minister's Office, India.[2] It was set up in 2004.[3] It also includes National Institute of Cryptology Research and Development (NICRD), which is first of its kind in Asia.[4]


The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), originally known as the National Technical Facilities Organisation (NTFO), is a highly specialised technical intelligence gathering agency. While the agency does not affect the working of technical wings of various intelligence agencies, including those of the Indian Armed Forces, it acts as a super-feeder agency for providing technical intelligence to other agencies on internal and external security. The agency is under the control of India's external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing, although it remains autonomous to some degree. The Group of Ministers (GOM) headed by then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani had recommended the constitution of the NTFO as a state-of-the-art technical wing of intelligence gathering. Due to security concerns, the recommendation along with such other matters were not made public when the GOM report was published. The organisation does hi-tech surveillance jobs, including satellite monitoring, terrestrial monitoring, internet monitoring, considered vital for the national security apparatus. The NTRO would require over 700 crore (US$100 million) to procure different hi-tech equipment from specialised agencies around the globe to become fully functional. The officials have identified countries from where such gadgets could be procured but refused to reveal them due to 'security and other implications'. The Government had been working in this direction after the Kargil war in 1999 when the Subrahmanyam committee report pointed out weaknesses in intelligence gathering in the national security set up.[5] Sources said the road-map for constitution of the National Technical Facilities Organisation was prepared by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam in October 2001 when he was the Principal Scientific Adviser. It was subsequently mentioned in the Group of Ministers report on internal security.


The agency develops technology capabilities in aviation and remote sensing, data gathering and processing, cyber security, cryptology systems, strategic hardware and software development and strategic monitoring.[6]

The National Critical Infrastructure Protection Centre, an agency under the control of National Technical Research Organisation, has been created to monitor, intercept and assess threats to crucial infrastructure and other vital installations from intelligence gathered using sensors and platforms which include satellites, underwater buoys, drones, VSAT-terminal locators and fiber-optic cable nodal tap points.

NTRO also has access to data from Technology Experiment Satellite(TES), Cartosat-2A and Cartosat-2B besides two Radar Imaging Satellites namely RISAT-1 & RISAT-2. RISAT-1 was launched from Sriharikota Spaceport on 26 April 2012 on board a PSLV. RISAT-1 carries a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload, operating in a multi-polarisation and multi-resolution mode and can provide images with coarse, fine and high spatial resolutions.[7] RISAT-2 was acquired from Israel at a cost $110 million and placed into orbit using a PSLV launcher in 2009.

In September 2013, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan allotted 180 hectares of land to set up the NTRO at Borda village near Bhopal.[8][9]

It December 2014 it intercepted communication emanating out of Karachi regarding transfer of vital equipment to receivers on the western coast of India. The Coast Guard and navy, already on alert because of heightened tension with Pakistan were then informed. The Coast Guard kept a close vigil through the day on December 31. Around 11 pm on New Year's Eve a suspicious boat was spotted about 200 km off the coast of Porbandar. On intercepting instead of cooperating the boat headed back towards Karachi. After few hours of chase the occupants set the fishing boat on fire. At least four men were spotted on the boat before it sank[10]


See also


  2. Special Correspondent (6 May 2007). "Technical research agency planned in State". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  3. Sandeep Unnithan (7 September 2007). "Spy versus spy". India Today. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  4. Syed Amin (5 May 2007). "Top tech body to come up in Hyderabad". Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  5. BHAVNA VIJ-AURORA (31 July 2008). "Dad's army versus terror Flop tag on tech trackers". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  6. "National tech research body to be housed in Hyderabad". The Hindu Business Line. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  7. "'ISRO successfully launches 'spy satellite' RISAT-1'". ndtv. 26 April 2012.
  8. "State govt allots land for NTRO in Borda village". 26 September 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  9. "Madhya Pradesh allots 180 hectares of land to set up NTRO". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  10. "How NTRO, Coast Guard stopped explosive-laden Pak ship". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  11. "Spy vs Spy". India Today. 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  12. "CAG to audit NTRO". Indian Express. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  13. "Who Monitors the Monitor?". Outlook India. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  14. "CAG unearths Rs 450 crore scam". 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  15. "CAG nails RAW arm in Rs 450-cr UAV purchase scam - India News". 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  16. "Court to probe into national research organisation Rs800 crore scam - India - DNA". 17 August 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  17. Nikhil Kanekal (2011-08-16). "SC wants explanation on NTRO scandal; issues notices to centre". Livemint. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  18. "No more monitoring of probe into NTRO purchases: SC". 2012-11-27.
  19. "NTRO staffer booted out for loo snoop". The Times of India. 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  20. NTRO's ethical hackers to conquer China Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. "Did NTRO tap phones?". Times of India. 2 Aug 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
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