Research and Analysis Wing

Research and Analysis Wing

Infobox Government agency
agency_name = Research and Analysis Wing
nativename =
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nativename_r =
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seal_width = 125 px
seal_caption = "धर्मो रक्षति रक्षित:"
formed = 21 Sept 1968
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dissolved =
superseding =
jurisdiction =
headquarters = New Delhi, India
employees =
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minister1_name =
minister1_pfo =
minister2_name =
minister2_pfo =
chief1_name = Ashok Chaturvedi
chief1_position = Secretary (R)
chief2_name =
chief2_position =
parent_agency = Prime Minister's Office, GoI
child1_agency = The Aviation Research Centre
The Radio Research Center

Electronics & Tech. Services.

National Tech. Facilities Organisation

Special Frontier Force
website =
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Research and Analysis Wing (RAW or R&AW) [ [ SAAG-R&AW "last accessed on 12.04.2007"] ] is India's external intelligence agency. Formed in September 1968 after the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, its primary function is collection of external intelligence, counter-terrorism and covert operations. In addition, it is also responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and persons in order to advise Indian foreign policymakers. Until the creation of R&AW in September 1968, the Intelligence Bureau handled both internal and external intelligence.

The R&AW has its headquarters on Lodhi Road in New Delhi. The current director of the organization is Ashok Chaturvedi, an IPS officer who later joined the Research and Analysis Service (RAS).



Around the end of 1966 the concept of a separate foreign intelligence agency began to take concrete shape. In 1968, after Indira Gandhi had taken over, it was decided that a full-fledged second security service was needed. R. N. KaoSunil Sainis. [ Rameshwar Nath Kao (1918-2002)] ] , then a deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau, submitted a blueprint for the new agency. Kao was appointed as the chief of India's first foreign intelligence agency named as the Research and Analysis Wing or R&AW. The R&AW was given the responsibility for strategic external intelligence, human as well as technical, plus concurrent responsibility with the Directorate-General of Military Intelligence for tactical trans-border military intelligence up to a certain depth across the LOC and the international border.As per convention, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) under the Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for co-ordinating and analyzing intelligence activities between R&AW, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). In practice, however, the effectiveness of the JIC has been varied [J.N.Dixit,'My South Block Years', p 418] . With the establishment of the National Security Council in 1999, the role of the JIC has been merged with the NSC. R&AW's legal status is unusual; it is not an "Agency" but a "Wing" of the Cabinet Secretariat. Hence R&AW is not answerable to Parliament on any issue. Because of this, R&AW has been kept out of reach of the "Right to Information Act" [ [ Dept. Right to Information] which are excluded] [However notwithstanding that they are exempt from the Right to Information Act, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) has conveyed, in response to an RTI petition filed by Anuj Dhar, that they aren't holding any information on Subhas Chandra Bose [ R&AW says no info on Netaji, but the slip shows] .] .

R&AW takes shape

R&AW started as a wing of the main Intelligence Bureau with 250 employees and an annual budget of Rs 2 crore (roughly $450,000). In the early seventies, its annual budget had risen to Rs 30 crores while its personnel numbered several thousand. In 1971, Kao had persuaded the government to set up the Aviation Research Centre (ARC). The ARC's job was aerial reconnaissance. [ [ The CIA's Secret War in Tibet] ] It replaced the Indian Air Force's old reconnaissance aircraft and by the mid-70s, R&AW, through the ARC, had high quality aerial pictures of the installations along the Chinese and Pakistani borders. Presently the budget of R&AW hovers around $150 million. [ [,9171,501020506-234000,00.html India vs. Pakistan] "last accessed on 11.04.2007"] [ [ The Spin and Swing of RAW Orchestra] "as accessed on 11.04.2007] ) operations and photo reconnaissance flights along its northern and eastern frontiers.

The Government of India has added another intelligence agency which is dedicated to collection of technical intelligence ( TECHINT ). India's new hi-tech spying agency, the National Technical Facilities Organisation (NTFO), also known as National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) is believed to be functioning under R&AW, although it remains autonomous to some degree. While the exact nature of the operations conducted by NTFO are classified, it is believed that it deals with research on imagery and communications using various platforms.

R&AW's objectives

right|300px|thumb|">legend|#dcdcdc|Indialegend|#FF0000|Countries which have territorial disputesThe objectives of R&AW [Raina, Asoka. (1981). "Inside R&AW". Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi] at present are:
* To monitor the political and military developments in adjoining countries, which have direct bearing on India's national security and in the formulation of its foreign policy.
* Secondly, to mould international public opinion by using a strong and vibrant Indian diaspora.

In the past, following the Indo-China war and due to what were volatile relations between India and Pakistan, R&AW's objectives had also consisted the following:
* To watch the development of international communism and the schism between the two communist giants, the Soviet Union and China. As in other countries, both the powers had direct access to the communist parties in India.
* To make the control and limitation of the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, mostly from European countries, the USA and China, a high priority.

The Organization

R&AW has been organized on the lines of the CIA ["Fulcrum of Evil:ISI, CIA and Alqaeda Nexus"-M K Dhar] . The Director of R&AW is designated Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat. Most of the previous Directors have been experts on either Pakistan or China. They also have the benefit of training in either US or the UK, and more recently in Israel [ [ The new Indian Govt. & national security: Part V & last] ] .The "Secretary (R)", although is under direct command of Prime Minister, reports on an administrative basis to the Cabinet Secretary, who reports to the Prime Minister (PM). However, on a daily basis the "Secretary (R)" reports to the National Security Advisor. Reporting to the "Secretary (R)" are: [ Research and Analysis Wing] as accessed on 9.4.07] [ [ R.A.W.: An Instrument of Indian Imperialism - ] ]
* An Additional Director responsible for the Office of Special Operations, intelligence collected from different countries processed by large number of Joint Secretaries, who are the functional heads of various specified desks with different regional divisions/areas/countries: area one, Pakistan; area two, China and Southeast Asia; area three, the Middle East and Africa; and area four, other countries. Two Special Joint Secretaries, reporting to Additional Director, head the Electronics and Technical Dept. which is the nodal agency for ETS, NTFO and RRC and the administrative dept.
* The Director General of Security having two important sections the Aviation Research Centre headed by one Special Director and the Special Services Bureau controlled by two Special Secretaries.The internal structure of the R&AW is a matter of speculation, but brief overviews of the same are present in the public domain. Attached to the HQ of R&AW at Lodhi Road, New Delhi are different regional headquarters, which have direct links to overseas stations and are headed by a controlling officer who keeps records of different projects assigned to field officers who are posted abroad. Intelligence is usually collected from a variety of sources by field officers and deputy field officers; it is either preprocessed by a senior field officer or by a desk officer. The desk officer then passes the information to the Joint Secretary and then on to the Additional Secretary and from there it is disseminated to the concerned end user. R&AW personnel are called "Research Officers" instead of traditional "agents". There is a sizeable number of female officers in R&AW even at operational level. In recent years R&AW has shifted its primary focus from Pakistan to China and have started operating a separate desk for this purpose. [ Research and Analysis Wing [RAW - India Intelligence Agencies ] ]

Training of R&AW Agents [source: Inside R&AW by Asoka Raina]

Recruitment [ [ Career Queries Hotline: I want to join RAW. How should I go about it?] ] Initially, R&AW relied primarily on trained intelligence officers who were recruited directly. These belonged to the external wing of the Intelligence Bureau. In times of great expansion, many candidates were taken from the military, police and other services. Later R&AW began directly recruiting graduates from universities. Today R&AW has its own service cadre, the Research and Analysis Service (RAS) to absorb talent. Recruitment is mostly by deputation of Armed Forces or Civil Service Officers ( All India or Central Civil Service-Group A or B). The Paramiltary Forces also remain a source of recruits.The Civil and Defence Service Officers permanently resign their cadre and join the Research and Analysis Service (RAS). Most of the Directors have been officers from the IPS. R&AW also employs a number of linguists and other experts in various fields.

Basic Training [ [ Raw at War-Genesis of Secret Agencies in Ancient India] ] Basic training commences with 'pep talks' to boost the morale of the new recruit. This is a ten-day phase in which the inductee is familiarized with the real world of intelligence and espionage, as opposed to the spies of fiction. Common usages, technical jargon and classification of information are taught. Case studies of other agencies like CIA, KGB, Chinese Secret Agency and ISI are presented for study. The inductee is also taught that intelligence organisations do not identify who is friend and who is foe, the country's foreign policy does. Basic classroom training to R&AW officers are imparted at R&AW's Training Institute in Gurgaon. []

Advanced Training ["Open Secrets: India's Intelligence Unveiled"- Maloy Krishna Dhar. He was the joint director of IB.] The recruit is now attached to a Field Intelligence Bureau (FIB). His training here lasts for six months to a year. He is given firsthand experience of what it was to be out in the figurative cold, conducting clandestine operations. During night exercises under realistic conditions, he is taught infiltration and exfiltration. He is instructed to avoid capture and, if caught, how to face interrogation. He learns the art of reconnoiter, making contacts, and, the numerous skills of operating an intelligence mission. At the end of the field training, the new recruit is brought back to the school for final polishing. Before his deployment in the field, he is given exhaustive training in the art of self-defense, an introduction to martial arts and the use of technical espionage devices. He is also drilled in various administrative disciplines so that he could take his place in the foreign missions without arousing suspicion. He is now ready to operate under the cover of an Embassy to gather information, set up his own network of informers, moles or operatives as the task may require. Field training is provided in Special Frontier Force HQ at Chakrata.

Functions of R&AW

name=Methods of Intelligence collection |battles=Signals Intelligencendash Human Intelligencendash Imagery Intelligencendash Electronic Intelligencendash Measurement & Signature Intelligence ndash Open Source Intelligencendash Communications Intelligence ndash Foreign instrumentation signals intel.ndash Geospatial Intel.ndash Financial Intelligence– Technical Intelligencendash Telemetry Intelligencendash Acoustic Intelligencendash Infrared Intelligencendash Radiation Intelligence
As per submissions by Secretary (R&AW) to Vohra Committee, the various offices abroad of R&AW have limited strength and are largely geared to the collection of military, economic, scientific and political intelligence. R&AW monitors the activities of certain organisations abroad only insofar as they relate to their involvement with narco terrorist elements and smuggling arms, ammunition, explosives, etc. into India. [ [ Vohra Committee Report] Last retrieved on 14/10/2007] It does not monitor the activities of criminal elements abroad, which are mainly confined to normal smuggling without any links to terrorist elements. The present strength of the Agency’s offices abroad would not permit it to enlarge its field of activities. If, however, there is evidence to suggest that these organisations have links with Intelligence agencies of other countries, and that they are being used or are likely to be used by such countries for destabilising India's economy, it would become R&AW’s responsibility to monitor their activities.

Collection of information: R&AW obtains information critical to Indian strategic interests. Both overt and covert means are adopted.

Classification of information: Data is sifted through, classified as appropriate, and filed with the assistance of the computer network in the 13-story bombproof building situated at Lodhi Road, New Delhi.

Aggressive intelligence: The primary mission of R&AW includes aggressive intelligence collection via espionage, psychological warfare, subversion and sabotage.

Counter intelligence: R&AW has a dedicated section which spies against enemies intelligence collection oganizations. With enemy agencies abounding in Indian neighbourhoods, this is the second most important function of R&AW.

Modus operandi

Diplomatic missions: ["Intelligence:Past, Present, Future"- B.R.Raman] Diplomatic missions provide an ideal cover and R&AW centers in a target country are generally located on the embassy premises.

Multinationals: R&AW operatives find good covers in multinational organizations. Non-governmental organizations and cultural programmes are also popular screens to shield R&AW activities.

Media: International media centers can easily absorb R&AW operatives and provide freedom of movement.Campaign
name=Espionage Techniques
battles=Agent Handlingndash Black Bag Operationsndash Black operation Concealment devicendash Cryptographyndash Dead drop Eavesdroppingndash False flag operationsndash Honeypotndash Nonofficial coverndash Interrogationndash Numbers messagingndash One-way voice link ndash Steganographyndash Surveillancendash TEMPEST

Collaboration with other agencies: R&AW maintains active collaboration with other secret services in various countries. Its contacts with FSB of Russia, KHAD, the Afghan agency, Israel's Mossad, the CIA and MI6 have been well-known, a common interest being Pakistan's nuclear programme.

Third Country Technique: R&AW has been active in obtaining information and operating through third countries like Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Singapore.

Spotting and Recruitment: R&AW operatives actively search for local recruits and operatives. Separatist tendencies and ethnic or sectarian sensitivities are also allegedly used as grounds for manipulation (such as the alleged involvement of R&AW with the Balochistan Liberation Army). Armed forces and Paramilitary personnel remain a primary target for enrolment.

ecretaries of R&AW

RN Kao and Sankaran Nair belonged to the Indian Police (IP), of the British colonial days which was renamed as the Indian Police Service after Indian Independence in 1947.

N.F.Suntook had served in the Indian Navy, then in the IPS and in the Indian Frontier Administration Service during the days of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Vikram Sood was from the Indian Postal Service.

A.S.Dulat was deputed from the Intelligence Bureau.

All the Directors have been experts on China or Pakistan except for the current Director, Ashok Chaturvedi who is an expert on Nepal []

Major operations

*ELINT operations in Himalayas: [ [ Vayu Sena: Book Extract: Spies in the Himalayas] last visited on August 22, 2007] After China tested its first nuclear weapons on October 16, 1964, at Lop Nur, Xinjiang, India and USA shared a common fear about the nuclear capabilities of China. ['An Eye at the Top of the World', by Pete Takeda, Thunder’s Mouth Press; 1st edition (September 4, 2006), ISBN 1560258454] Owing to extreme remoteness of Chinese testing grounds and strict secrecy surrounding the Chinese nuclear programme, it was almost impossible to carry out any HUMINT operation. So CIA in late 60s decided to launch an ELINT operation along with R&AW and ARC to track China's nuclear tests and monitor its missile launches. The operation, in the garb of a mountaineering expedition to Nanda Devi involved celebrated Indian climber M S Kohli who along with operatives of Special Frontier Force and CIA most notably Jim Rhyne, a veteran STOL pilot, was to place a permanent ELINT device, a transceiver powered by a plutonium battery, that could detect and report data on future nuclear tests carried out by China [Spies in the Himalayas, by Kenneth Conboy and M.S. Kohli, University Press of Kansas (March 2003), ISBN-10: 0700612238 ] . The monitoring device was near successfully implanted on Nanda Devi, however an avalanche forced a hasty withdrawal [Harish Kapadia, "Nanda Devi", in "World Mountaineering", Audrey Salkeld, editor, Bulfinch Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8212-2502-2, pp. 254-257.] , later a subsequent mountain operation to retrieve or replant the device was aborted when it was found that the device was lost. Recent reports indicate that radiation traces from this device have been discovered in sediment below the mountain [ Seattle Post-Intelligencer] ] . However the actual data is not conclusive.

* Creation of Bangladesh: [ [ Mukti Bahini] ] ["Mission Pakistan"-Maloy Krishna Dhar] In the early 1970s the army of Pakistan prosecuted a bloody military crackdown in response to the Bangladesh independence movement. [ [ Documents on Crimes against Humanity Committed by Pakistan Army and their agents in Bangladesh during 1971] ] [ [ Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971] ] Nearly 10 million refugees fled to India. The R&AW's Bangladesh operation began in early 1970 by sowing discord among the disgruntled population of Bangladesh (then called East Pakistan), suffering repression by the Pakistani political establishment. This led to the creation of Mukti Bahini and under its cover R&AW operatives infiltrated into East Pakistan for guerrilla operations, blowing up Pakistani assets to damage the operational mobility of their troops. R&AW emerged as a formidable intelligence agency after this success. The Bangladesh Liberation War is considered to be one of the greatest success of R&AW till date.

* Mujibur Rahman's Assassination: R&AW operatives claim that they had advance information about Mujib-ur-Rahman's assassination but tragically Sheikh Mujib ignored R&AW's inputs and was killed along with 40 members of his family. R&AW thus failed to prevent the assassination which led to the loss of a charismatic leader who had a soft corner for India after all they had done for his countries' independence. However recently R&AW has successfully thwarted plans of assassinating Sheikh Hasina Wazed, daughter of Mujibur Rahman, by Islamist extremists, and ISI [ [ The plan to assassinate Bangladesh Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina Wajed: How LTTE deal was blocked, suicide bombers failed to explode] last visited on 9.4.07] .

* Operation Smiling Buddha: Operation Smiling Buddha was the name given India's nuclear programme. The task to keep it under tight wraps for security was given to R&AW. [ [ India eNews - Turf battles hit Indian spy in the sky ] ] This was the first time that R&AW was involved in a project inside India. On 18 May 1974 India detonated a 15-kiloton plutonium device at Pokhran and became a member of the nuclear club.

* Amalgamation of Sikkim: Bodered by Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and West Bengal in the Eastern Himalayas Sikkim was ruled by a Maharaja. The Indian Government had recognized the title of "Chogyal (Dharma Raja)" for the Maharaja of Sikkim. In 1972 R&AW was authorized to install a pro-Indian democratic government there. In less than three years Sikkim became the 22nd State of the Indian Union, on April 26 1975.

* "' not only refused to sanction the US$10,000 demanded by the R&AW agent, but informed Pakistan of the offer [ [ RAW & Mossad: The Secret Link] ] . According to conflicting reports, Pakistanis caught and eliminated the R&AW mole.

* Special Operations: In the mid 1980s R&AW set up two covert groups, "Counterintelligence Team-X(CIT-X)" and "Counterintelligence Team-J(CIT-J)", the first directed at Pakistan [] and the second at Khalistani groups. Rabinder Singh, the R&AW double agent who defected to the United States in 2004, helped run CIT-J in its early years. Both these covert groups used the services of cross-border traffickers to ferry weapons and funds across the border, much as their ISI counterparts were doing. According to former R&AW official and noted security analyst B. Raman, the Indian counter-campaign yielded results. "The role of our cover action capability in putting an end to the ISI's interference in Punjab", he wrote in 2002, "by making such interference prohibitively costly is little known and understood." These covert operations were discontinued during the tenure of IK Gujral. [ [ Covert contestation] ]

* Kanishka Bombing case: [As per conspiracy theorists Zuhair Kashmiri and Brian Mac Andrew in their book "" the bombings were R&AW's operations to malign the Canadian Sikhs who were actively participating in the Khalistani movement and make them suspect in the eyes of the Canadian authorities.] [ [ Air India In depth] . CBC.] [ Death of Flight 182 website] On 23 June, 1985 Air India's Flight 182 was blown up near Ireland and 329 innocent lives were lost. On the same day another explosion took place at Tokyo's Narita airport's transit baggage building where baggage was being transferred from Cathay Pacific Flight No CP 003 to Air India Flight 301 which was scheduled for Bangkok. Both aircraft were loaded with explosives from Canadian airports. Flight 301 got saved because of a delay in its departure. This was considered as a major set back to R&AW for failing to gather enough intelligence about the khalistani terrorists [ [ CBC] . Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had obtained permission to tape Parmar’s phone on the basis that he was the leader of the Babbar Khalsa.] . [ [ Air India witness describes impact of wife's death] . Last visited on 12/9/2007]

* Operation Cactus: [ [ OPERATION CACTUS] ] In November 1988, the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), composed of about 200 Tamil secessionist rebels, invaded Maldives. At the request of the president of Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Indian armed forces, with assistance from R&AW, launched a military campaign to throw the mercenaries out of Maldives. On the night of November 3, 1988, the Indian Air Force airlifted 6th parachute battalion of the Parachute Regiment from Agra and flew them over 2,000 km (1,240 mi) to Maldives. The Indian paratroopers landed at Hulule and restored the government rule at Malé within hours. The operation, labelled "Operation Cactus", also involved the Indian Navy. Swift operation by the military and precise intelligence information quelled the insurgency.

*Sri Lanka: [ [ Research and Analysis Wing RAW] ] [ [] R&AW created a terrorist organisation to stop Sri Lanka from developing quickly economically and forging ties with other nations in the West or China. R&AW funded and armed the terrorists to wreak havoc in the country. Breaking with the Past By Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli, p54] . R&AW started training the LTTE to keep a check on Sri Lanka, which had helped Pakistan in the Indo-Pak War by allowing Pakistani ships to refuel at Sri Lankan ports, but LTTE created lot of problems and complications and then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi was forced to send Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to restore normalcy in the region. The disastrous mission of Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) was blamed by many on the lack of coordination between the IPKF and R&AW. Its most disastrous manifestation was the Heliborne assault on LTTE HQ in the Jaffna University campus in the opening stages of Operation Pawan. The site was chosen without any consultation with the R&AW. The dropping paratroopers became easy targets for the LTTE. A number of soldiers were killed. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi is also blamed as a fallout of the failed R&AW operation in Sri Lanka. [Sachi Sri Kantha. [ The RAW Factor] last visited on 9.4.07] .

* Operation Chanakya: [ [ The Millenium Manifesto or ’Ikeesween Sadi Dastoor’] ] This was the R&AW operation in the disputed Kashmir region to infiltrate various ISI-backed Kashmiri terrorist groups and restore peace in the Kashmir valley. R&AW operatives infiltrated the area, collected military intelligence, and provided evidence about ISI's involvement in training and funding Kashmiri terrorist groups [Joint Intelligence North(JIN) is a department in ISI which is exclusively responsible for the Jammu and Kashmir region and in particular the Indian troop movement along the LOC (Line of Control). However, due to recent peace overtures between India and Pakistan, the size of this department is being reduced.] [cite web|url=|title=Overview Of Intelligence Services|accessdate=2006-05-05|first=Pakistan |last=Defense] . R&AW was successful not only in unearthing the links between the ISI and the terrorist groups, but also in infiltrating and neutralizing the militancy in the Kashmir valley. [cite web|url=,2763,722049,00.html|title=Dangerous game of state-sponsored terror that threatens nuclear conflict|accessdate=2006-05-05|first=Rory |last=McCarthy] [cite web|url=|title="Directorate for ISI" article on FAS, Intelligence Resource Program] [cite web|url=,2763,722049,00.html |title=Dangerous game of state-sponsored terror... - The Guardian] R&AW is also credited for creating a split in Hizbul [ [ The Kashmir T E L E G R A P H ] ] . Operation Chanakya also marked the creation of pro-Indian groups in Kashmir like the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen, Musleem Mujahideen etc. These counter-insurgencies consist of ex-militants and relatives of those slain in the conflict. Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen leader Kokka Parrey was himself assassinated by terrorists.

* Disturbances in Pakistan: [ [ Unease among intelligence agencies] ] The Pakistani government claims that dissent among the Balochis, tribals in the North-West Frontier Province, Waziristan, Northern Areas and rural sindhi population is due to R&AW's interventions [ [ India’s unconventional war strategy] Last accessed on 24/9/2007] . Pakistan also claims that R&AW has established its training camps in Afghanistan in collaboration with the Northern Alliance in a bid to destabilise the region, as a retaliation for Pakistan's involvement in Kashmir. ["India has established Terrorist Training Camp in Qadian" by Farooq Adil, Special Weekly Takbeer Report December 25, 1997 ] It is also claimed by Pakistani authorities that approximately 600 ferraris (Baloch tribal dissidents) and members of Islamic Emirate of Waziristan were trained to handle explosives and use sophisticated weapons in these camps. [ [ Outlook India] ] While Pakistan has long complained of India-engineered terrorism on its soil, there is so far no reputable open-source account of either its scale or its course and the Indian government has steadfastly denied any involvement in the Baloch-NWFP problem.

* Kargil War: R&AW was heavily criticized in 1999, following the Pakistani incursions at Kargil. Critics accused R&AW of failing to provide intelligence that could have prevented the ensuing ten-week conflict that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of full-scale war. While the army has been critical of the lack of information they received, [More recently, Army officials said that R&AW was unable to assess the relevance of Pakistan acquiring large quantities of high-altitude equipment including boots, tents and snow scooters from European suppliers just months before the Kargil war [ Battle over intelligence] ] R&AW has pointed the finger at the politicians, claiming they had provided all the necessary information. Most Indian officials believe that in order to prevent another such occurrence, communication needs to be increased between the intelligence agencies, which would require structural reform. However R&AW was successful in intercepting a telephonic conversation between Pervez Musharraf, the then Pakistan Army Chief in Beijing and his chief of staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz in Islamabad [ [ web/pIe/ie/daily/19991025/ige25001.html India gave the Kargil tapes to Sharif a week before release.] last accessed on 21/3/2008] . This tape was later published by India to prove Pakistani involvement in the Kargil incursion [ [ Lanka Web News ] ] [Major General V.K. Singh, who served in R&AW in its technical wing between the year 2000 and 2004 however opines that R&AW was mistaken to allow the publication of the tapes, in his book "India's External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)" commented "you never ever disclose your source in the intelligence game. Once that was done when the tapes were handed over, the source dried up and we did not get any intelligence from this sector for the next two years. In my opinion, this was a violation of the basic principles of intelligence gathering"] . []

*Help to the Northern alliance: After the rise of Pakistan backed Taliban in Afghanistan, India decided to side with the Northern Alliance. This relationship was further cemented in the 2001 Afgan war. [] By 1996 R&AW had built a 25 bed military hospital [The Northern Alliance military commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was assassinated in September 2001 by two Arab suicide bombers posing as journalists, died in the India-run hospital.] at the Farkhor Air Base [ [ India and Central Asia ] ] , this airport was used by Aviation Research Centre, the reconnaissance arm of R&AW, to repair and operate Northern Alliance's aerial support. India also supplied the Northern Alliance high altitude warfare equipment worth around $8-10 million [ [ INDIA–AFGHANISTAN RELATIONS: POST-9/11 ] ] [ [ India joins anti-Taliban coalition - Jane's Security News ] ] . A handful of Indian defence advisers who reportedly included an officer in the rank of Brigadier, were based in Tajikistan to advise the Northern Alliane in operations against the Taliban [ [ The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News ] ] . R&AW was the first intelligence agency to determine the extent of Kunduz airlift. [ [ Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) ] ]

* Operation Leech: Surrounded by Arakans and dense forest Myanmar had always been a worrisome point for Indian intelligence. As the major player in the area, India has sought to promote democracy and install friendly governments in the region. To these ends, R&AW cultivated Burmese rebel groups and pro-democracy coalitions, especially the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) [Larry Jagan, BBC Online, 4 July 2000] . India allowed KIA to carry a limited trade in jade and precious stones using Indian territory and even supplied them weapons. It is further alleged that KIA chief Maran Brangsein met the R&AW chief in Delhi twice. However when KIA became the main source of training and weapons for all northeastern rebel groups, R&AW initiated an operation, code named "Operation Leech", to assassinate the leaders of the Burmese rebels as an example to other groups. [ [ Guns, drugs and rebels] . B.B. Nandi, former RAW additional secretary, interview to author, 6 March 2002.] Six top rebel leaders, including military wing chief of National Unity Party of Arakans (NUPA), Khaing Raza, were shot dead and 34 Arakanese guerrillas were arrested and charged with gunrunning. [ [ 550, Subir Bhaumik, Guns, drugs and rebels ] ]

* War on Terror:Although R&AW's contribution to the war on terror is highly classified, the organization gained some attention in the western media after claims that it was assisting the United States by providing intelligence on Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban's whereabouts. Maps and photographs of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan along with other evidence implicating Osama bin Laden in terrorist attacks, were given to US intelligence officials. R&AW's role in the war on terror may increase as US intelligence has indicated that it sees R&AW as a more reliable ally than Pakistani intelligence. It has further come to light that a timely tip-off by RAW helped foil a third assassination plot against Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf [ [ Musharraf is alive, thanks to India] last accessed on 31 December, 2007] .


From its inception R&AW has been criticised for being an agency not answerable to the people of India (R&AW reports to Prime Minister only). Fears arose that it could turn into the KGB of India. Such fears were kept at bay by the R&AW's able leadership (although detractors of R&AW and especially the Janata Party have accused the agency of letting itself be used for terrorising and intimidating opposition during emergencies). The main controversy which has plagued R&AW in recent year is over bureaucratisation of the system with allegations about favoritism in promotions etc. [C K Kutty. [ A RAW Hand] ] R&AW also suffers from ethnic imbalances in the officer level. In 2006, Indian magazine Outlook reported that although India has a Muslim minority numbering 140 million, there was not one single high level Muslim officer in R&AW. Reuters quoted anonymous sources as saying there were some Muslims in R&AW, but they were mostly field officers. [Denyer, S. (2006). raw is a big dog in 1985 [ "Muslims excluded from India's spy agency"] . "Reuters". Retrieved November 6, 2006.] . Noted security analyst and former Additional Secretary B.Raman has criticised the agency for its asymmetric growth; "while being strong in its capability for covert action it is weak in its capability for intelligence collection, analysis and assessment. Strong in low and medium-grade intelligence, weak in high-grade intelligence. Strong in technical intelligence, weak in human intelligence. Strong in collation, weak in analysis. Strong in investigation, weak in prevention. Strong in crisis management, weak in crisis prevention." ['The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane', B. Raman, Lancer Publishers (2007), ISBN-10: 097961743X] [ [ Spooks in the machine] ] In September 2007, R&AW was involved in controversy due to the high profile CBI raid at the residence of Maj Gen (retired) V K Singh, a retired Joint Secretary of R&AW who has recently written a book on R&AW where it was alleged that political interference and corruption in the intelligence agency has made it vulnerable to defections. A case under Official Secrets Act has also been filed. [ [ RAW man protests CBI raid on his home over story book] . Last accessed on 24/9/2007] R&AW was again in middle of a controversy when a Director level employee, head of R&AW Training Institute in Gurgaon from 2005 [] tried to commit suicide in front of Prime Minister's Office on August 19, 2008, alleging inaction and wrong findings to a sexual harassment complaint filed against a Joint Secretary, who was on deputation to R&AW. [] []

Defections and spy scandals

In recent past there has been few high profile defections and scandals which have tarnished the image of R&AW as efficient agency, some of the scandals that were in news in past are:

* 2004 CIA Spy scandal: [ [ India's CIA spy scandal] ] Rabinder Singh Joint secretary and heading R&AW's South East Asia department had defected to America on June 5, 2004. R&AW had already become suspicious about his movements and he was under surveillance and his telephones were also tapped. He was also confronted by Counter Intelligence officials on 19 April 2004. Despite all precautions Rabinder Singh managed to defect with 'sensitive files' he had allegedly removed from R&AW's headquarters in south New Delhi. This embarrassing fiasco and national security failure are attributed to weak surveillance, shoddy investigation and lack of coordination between the Counter-Intelligence and Security (CIS), IB and R&AW [C K Kutty. [ Did the CIA help Rabinder Singh flee?] ] . According to unconfirmed reports Singh has surfaced in Virginia, USA. [ [ Rabindra 'spy' Singh surfaces in Virginia ] ] Recently in an affidavit submitted to the court R&AW deposed that Singh has been traced to New Jersey [ [ Rabinder in US, we want him back: RAW in court] ] .

* 2007 Bangladeshi Spy Scandal: [ [;jsessionid=12C267E943FFA098F3EF22DDAB5D0D83? Bangladeshi worked for R&AW for 6 years- Hindustan Times] ] The man in question here was a Bangladeshi DGFI agent who concealed his nationality and was known by the name of Diwan Chand Mallik. He was known to have some important documents which are dangerous for national security. He joined in 1999 and used to live in East Delhi. A case of cheating and forgery was filed at the Lodhi Colony police station on the basis of a complaint by a senior R&AW official. [ [ Bangladeshi worked for R&AW for 6 years] ]

R&AW in fiction and the movies

Unlike Hollywood, which has portrayed FBI, CIA, MI6 etc in various films, Bollywood has been shy to explore the area of espionage, especially R&AW on the silver screen. Excessive secrecy surrounding activities and rare declassification of information are blamed as the main reason behind this. However there are films from Bollywood which refers to "agents", "espionage", "terrorism" etc. but till recently none of them openly mentioned R&AW.

One of the earliest Indian films portraying espionage was "Prem Pujari" starring Dev Anand in 1970, in 1973 just after the war with Pakistan came "Hindustan Ki Kasam" (Starring Raaj Kumar, Priya Rajvansh). However films like "" (Starring Sunny Deol and Priti Zinta) [ [ HITTING PAKISTAN IS BOLLYWOOD'S FORMULA] "as accessed on 04.04.2007] , "Aankhen" (1968, Ramanand Sagar Production, Starring Dharmendra, Mala Sinha) [ [ Ankhen (1968)] ] , "Such a Long Journey" (1998, UK Canada Co-production, Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, starring Naseeruddin Shah) [ [ Such a Long Journey] ] , "16th December" (Starring Milind Soman, Sushant Singh, Dipanita Sharma), [] "Hindustan Ki Kasam" (1999, starring Ajay Devgan in double role, Amitabh Bachchan), "Asambhav" (2004), starring Arjun Rampal as Army Captain and Jammel Khan essaying role of fictional R&AW agent Atul Bhatnagar [ [ Asambhav (2004) ] ] etc. have openly mentioned R&AW and its allied units. In the film "Fanaa", Tabu essays the role of Malini Tyagi the director of a fictional government organization the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) which seems to be the screen version of R&AW. Rumors have it that the notable Bollywood director Ram Gopal Varma’s next enterprise titled "Ek", starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty and Akshay Kumar with guest appearance of Keanu Reeves, is about military intelligence with elements of war, terrorism and the workings of R&AW. [ [ RGV and Tyrewala team for EK] ] Popular Hindi movie "Veer-Zaara" has mentioned the intelligence agency R&AW, when the lead character Veer (portrayed by Shah Rukh Khan) was accused by Pakistani police of being an undercover spy for R&AW. In "Mission Istanbul" model actress Shweta Bhardwaj played the role of Lisa Lobo, a R&AW agent in Istanbul, who helps journalist Vikas Sagar, played by Zayed Khan, in foiling the anti - India terrorist attempts by a terror group. In "Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam" Rahul Bose plays a RAW officer (Arjun Rastogi) who tries to thwart the explosives delivery in the city.

Apart from Bollywood, the regional film industries of India have also cashed in on the patriotic appeal of espionage, Telugu movie star Krishna's film titled "Goodachari No. 1" explores the life of an undercover agent working to thwart ISI activities in India. Cine star Bala Krishna's latest film in the direction of Swarna Subba Rao, titled "Vijayendra Varma - The power of an Indian" is based on a real life story of a R&AW agent. Bala Krishna is doing the role of the R&AW officer in the film [ [] ] . The Tamil movie "Ottran" casts Arjun Sarja as a R&AW officer. A 1990's Malayalam film "Highway" portrays Suresh Gopi as a R&AW agent investigating a bomb blast. Kamal Hasan in a film titled "Dasavataram" essayed role of a bumbling R&AW operative. [ [ 'Dasavathaaram' - 10 Kamals too many | Bollywood News - Yahoo! India Movies ] ]

The thriving entertainmnet channels in India have also started to tap into the theme of Intelligence agencies. "Time Bomb 9/11", a series aired on Zee Tv, features Rajeev Khandelwal in the role of R&AW field officer who attempts to defuse a Nuclear bomb set in India, as well as saving the life of Indian PM.


Further reading

* "Inside RAW" - Ashok Raina, Vikas Publishing House New Delhi, 1981
* "Open Secrets: India's Intelligence Unveiled" - Maloy Krishna Dhar, New Delhi, Manas Publication, 2005 ISBN 81-7049-240-8
* " [ Mission to Pakistan: An Intelligence Agent in Pakistan] " Maloy Kri. Dhar, Manas Publication, January 1 2002, ISBN 978-8170491484
* "Mission: Pakistan", Maloy Krishna Dhar, iUniverse (January 2004), ISBN 978-0595304820
* "Fulcrum of Evil: ISI, CIA and Al qaeda Nexus" - Maloy K Dhar, New Delhi, Manas Publication, 2006, ISBN 81-7049-278-5.
* "Sin of National conscience" - R.N.Kulkarni, Mysore: Kritagnya Publication, 2004.
* "Intelligence: Past, Present, Future" - B.R.Raman
* "Indians Hand Evidence on bin Laden to US", Herald Sun, September 17 2001.
* "The KaoBoys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane", B. Raman, Lancer Publishers (2007), ISBN 097961743X
* " [ Inside IB and RAW: The Rolling stone that gathered moss] ", K. Sankaran Nayar, Manas Publication
* "RAW: Global and Regional Ambitions" edited by Rashid Ahmad Khan and Muhammad Saleem, Islamabad Policy Research Institute, Asia Printers, Islamabad, 2005
* "The Game Of Foxes: J-K Intelligence War", Manoj Joshi, Times Of India, July 16 1994
* "Indian Spy Agency's Machinations",Islamabad,THE MUSLIM, 18 December 1996 p6
* " [ RAW: Research and Analysis Wing] " - Tariq Ismail Sagar, Sagar Publication. See also: [ E-buyer in soup for Pak writer's book on RAW] . Last accessed on July 27, 2007.
* "" - Zuhair Kashmeri and Brian McAndrew, Toronto: James Lorimer, 1989.
* "Spies in the Himalayas: Secret Missions and Perilous Climbs." - MS Kohli and Kenneth Conboy, Ed. KS Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 2003.
* " [ Intelligence: A Security Weapon] ",DC Pathak, New Delhi: Manas Publication, 2003.
* " [ Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India's intelligence agencies] ", Rohan Gunaratna, South Asian Network on Conflict Research, 1993, ISBN 9559519905
* "India's External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)", Maj. Gen. V.K Singh, Manas Publications, ISBN 8170493323
* " [ A R&AW Hand

External links

* [ Book Extract: Spies in the Himalayas]
* [ RAW at War-Genesis of Secret Agencies in Ancient India]
* [ The Bangladesh cauldron]
* [ RAW's under cover operation] (Requires login)
* [ The Indian Army in Sri Lanka 1987-1990]
* [ Overview of IPKF Mission]
* [ Background on Air India bombing]
* [ Death of Flight 182 website]
* [ Indian Intelligence and Security Agencies]
* [ Extract from the book "The CIA's Secret War in Tibet"] Information on early CIA and Indian cooperation to setup ARC

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