Research and Analysis Wing

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This article is about the Indian intelligence agency. For other uses, see RAW (disambiguation).
Research and Analysis Wing
Satyameva Jayate
Director  : P K H Tharakan
Department  : Cabinet Secretariat
Established  : September 21, 1968
Budget  : Classified
Employees  : Classified
Major units:
Methods of Intelligence collections:
Notable Directors:
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Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW)<ref>SAAG-R&AW</ref> is India's external intelligence agency. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the need for a separate intelligence body was keenly felt. Research and Analysis Wing was therefore created as an independent unit in September 1968 from the Intelligence Bureau, which handled both internal and external intelligence. Its headquarters are on Lodhi Road in New Delhi. The current director of the organization is P K Hormese Tharakan, who was with R&AW from 1989 to 2001, and is an IPS officer.<ref></ref>


[edit] Evolution of R&AW

R. N. Kao (1918-2002). Founder Director of RAW
RAW traces its origins to the post Sino-Indian war scenario where foreign intelligence failure led to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi instructing the setting up of a dedicated foreign intelligence agency. Prior to its inception, intelligence collection was primarily the responsibilty of the Intelligence Bureau which was created by the British. In 1933, sensing the political turmoil in the world which eventually led to the Second World War, the bureau's responsibilities were increased to include the collection of intelligence along India's borders. In 1947, after independence, Sanjeevi Pillai took over as the first Indian Director. Having been depleted of trained manpower by the exit of the British, Pillai tried to run the bureau along MI5 lines. Although in 1949, Pillai organized a small foreign intelligence set-up, the inefficacy of it was proved by the Indian debacle in the Indo-China War of 1962, and the cry of 'not enough intelligence available', was taken up by the Indian Chief of Army Staff, General Chaudhry, after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

Around the end of 1966 the concept of a separate foreign intelligence agency began to take shape. In 1968, after Indira Gandhi had taken over, it was decided that a full-fledged second security service was needed. R. N. Kao<ref></ref>, 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 RAW, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). In practice, however, the effectiveness of the JIC has been varied. 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, its 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 regime.

[edit] 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.<ref></ref> 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.
Image:Special arc.JPG
The ARC operating bases at 1.Military Charbatia Air Base Cuttack, Orissa 20°33'27"N 85°53'32"E, 2.Military Dum Duma Air Station, Tinsukia, Assam 27°33'09"N 95°34'15"E, 3.Chakrata Air Station, Dehra Dun, Uttaranchal 30°42'21"N 77°51'41"E 4.Farkhor Air Base Farkhor/Ayni, Tajikistan 37°28'15"N 69°22'56"E.
There are four R&AW Aviation Research Centre operating bases:<ref>Spy Planes damaged, Chandan Nandy The Telegraph New Delhi, Nov. 4, 1999</ref> at Charbatia in Cuttack; at Chakrata on the Uttar Pradesh-Himachal Pradesh border; Dum Duma near Tinsukia in Assam; and at the Palam domestic airport in Delhi.<ref></ref> It is also alleged that Farkhor Air Base, the only Indian military base situated in a foreign country, at Farkhor/Ayni in Tajikistan,<ref></ref> is also another base station of ARC. By 1976, Kao became responsible for security, reporting directly to the Prime Minister. His rise paralleled R&AW's rise to prominence. R&AW agents operated in virtually every major embassy and high commission. Today R&AW has close to 10000 agents all over the world and ARC has positioned itself to be one of the foremost agencies in aerial surveillance. Its assets of fixed-wing transport and light aircraft like Russian IL-76s and AN-32s and General Dynamics Gulfstream III/SRA-1s and upgraded Gulfstream IV/SRA-4 jets of the US and helicopter fleet comprising Russian MI-8s and a mix of locally built Cheetahs (locally modified French Alouette IIs)<ref></ref> and Chetak's (Alouette IIIs), many of which are used to transport Special Frontier Force (SFF) commandos from their base at Sirsawa, 250 km north of New Delhi, at the behest of R&AW operatives or from the Intelligence Bureau are tasked with gathering information via airborne signal intelligence (SIGINT) operations and photo
Image:MiG-25RB cams.jpg
Cameras of MiG-25RB for aerial surveillance
reconnaissance flights along its northern and eastern frontiers.<ref></ref>

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 RAW, 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.

[edit] R&AW's objectives

The objectives of R&AW <ref>Raina, Asoka. (1981). Inside R&AW. Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi</ref> have been:

  • 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 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.
  • Thirdly, to make the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, mostly from European countries, the USA and China, a high priority.
  • Lastly, the presence of large ethnic Indian populations in foreign countries provided a powerful platform for lobbying. These countries could back a favorable policy in international councils, motivated by the ethnic Indian group.

[edit] The Organization

Further information: CIA Organizational Chart

R&AW has been organized on the lines of the CIA<ref>"Fulcrum of Evil:ISI, CIA and Alqaeda Nexus"-M K Dhar</ref>. The chief of the RAW is designated Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Understandably, there is not a lot of information available about this position. Most of the occupants 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<ref></ref>.The Secretary (R) 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:

  • Two Special Secretaries and one Special Director of the ARC, the Aviation Research Centre.
  • Four Additional Secretaries, responsible for different geographical regions.
  • A large number (above 40) Joint Secretaries, who are the functional heads of various desks.

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.[citation needed]

[edit] Training of R&AW Agents<ref>source: Inside R&AW by Asoka Raina</ref>

Recruitment<ref></ref> 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 are also taken from the 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. The criteria for selection are fairly stringent.

Basic Training<ref></ref> 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.

Advanced Training<ref>"Open Secrets: India's Intelligence Unveiled"- Maloy Krishna Dhar. He was the joint director of IB.</ref>
Training on the firing range.

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.

[edit] Functions of R&AW

██ India ██ Key strategic, military & economic partners ██ Key strategic and economic partners ██ Economic partners ██ Countries which have territorial disputes ██ Arch-rivals

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 which is comprised of espionage, psychological warfare, subversion, sabotage, and promoting insurgency in foreign countries.

[edit] Modus operandi

Diplomatic missions:<ref>"Intelligence:Past, Present, Future"- B.R.Raman </ref> 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.

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, Mayanmar and Singapore.

Spotting and Recruitment: R&AW operatives actively search for local recruits and operatives. Acting on the Chanakyan principles, they exploit human weaknesses for wine, women and wealth, and, at times resort to blackmail.[citation needed] Separatist tendencies and ethnic or sectarian sensitivities are also well-known grounds for manipulation. Armed forces personnel remain a primary target.

[edit] Directors of R&AW

R. N. Kao, (1968-77) N. Santook, (1977-83) Girish Saxena, (1983-86) A.K. Verma, (1986-89) G.S. Bajpai, (1989-91) N. Narasimhan, (1991-93)
R.S. Bedi, (1993-94) A.S. Syali, (1994-96) Ranjan Roy, (1996-97) Arvind Dave, (1997-99) Arvind Dave, (1999-01) Vikram Sood, (2001-03)
C D Sahay, (2003-05) P K H Tharakan, (2005-Present)

[edit] 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.

[edit] Major successes of R&AW

Image:Bangladesh divisions english.png
Bangladesh was created after an intense war which saw the first major operation of RAW.
  • Poornima:<ref></ref> Project Poornima was the name given India's nuclear programme. The task to keep it under tight wraps of security was given to R&AW. 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.
  • Sikkim: Encircled 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 Mahraja 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.
  • Special Operations:In the mid 1980's RAW 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 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.<ref></ref>
  • 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 always 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) <ref>Larry Jagan, BBC Online, 4th July 2000</ref>. 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. KIA became the main source of training and weapons for all northeastern rebel groups. R&AW initiated an operation, code name Operation Leech, to assassinate the leaders of the Burmese rebels as an example to other groups.<ref>B.B. Nandi, former RAW additional secretary, interview to author, 6 March 2002,


[edit] R&AW's failures

  • Kahuta's Blueprint:<ref></ref> <ref>According to the September 18-24, 1988 issue of the weekly Indian Magazine Sunday</ref>
    Ordinance Blueprint,Khan Research Laboratories, A.Q. Khan Laboratories, Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL), Kahuta, Pakistan 33°39'11"N 73°15'33"E.
    Kahuta is the site of the Khan Research Laboratories [KRL], Pakistan's main nuclear weapons laboratory as well as an emerging center for long-range missile development. The primary Pakistani fissile-material production facility is located at Kahuta, employing gas centrifuge enrichment technology to produce Highly Enriched Uranium [HEU]. R&AW agents claim that in early 1978, they were on the verge of obtaining the plans and blueprint for Kahuta Research Laboratories that was built to counter the Pokharan atomic blast, but the then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai not only refused to sanction the $ 10,000 demanded by the R&AW agent, but informed Pakistan of the offer. According to conflicting reports, Pakistanis caught and eliminated the R&AW mole.
  • Sri Lanka:<ref></ref> <ref> Civilians Affected by War in Northeast Ceylon</ref> Tamil population in Sri Lanka had been fighting for autonomy since 1983. Conscious of its own Tamil population India could not afford to ignore events in Sri Lanka. Mounting violence and resulting casualties led Indians with ethnic links to Sri Lankan Tamils to help the Lankan Tamils<ref>India, Pakistan, and the United States: Breaking with the PastBy Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli, p54</ref>. R&AW started training the LTTE to keep a check on Sri Lanka but it created lot of problems and complications. 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 drop of Indian paratroops over the University Campus in Jaffna, which was the stronghold of the LTTE. 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 Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is also blamed as a fallout of the failed R&AW operation in Sri Lanka.
  • Kanishka Bombing case:<ref>Zuhair Kashmiri and Brian Mac Andrew's well-known book Soft Target provides details of R&AW's operations in Canada to malign the Sikhs there for their role in the Khalistani movement and make them suspect in the eyes of the Canadian authorities.</ref><ref></ref><ref> Death of Flight 182 website</ref> 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 2004 CIA Spy scandal: <ref></ref>
    Image:03singhthe defector.jpg
    Rabinder Singh,a middle level official of R&AW who defected to USA in 2004
    Rabinder Singh Joint secretary and heading R&AW's the agency'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<ref></ref>.

[edit] Controversies

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. The main controversy which has plagued RAW in recent year is over bureaucratisation of the system.[citation needed]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 RAW, but they were very few in number.<ref>Denyer, S. (2006). "Muslims excluded from India's spy agency". Reuters. Retrieved November 6, 2006.</ref>

[edit] Media portrayal

Unlike Hollywood, which has portrayed FBI, CIA, MI6 etc in various films,Bollywood has been shy to explore the area of secret service especially RAW on the silver screen. Excessive secrecy surrounding activities and rare declassification of information are blamed as the main reason behind this. Most pro RAW activist defend on the line that "if we don't hear much about an agency , it's successful at hiding it's work processes. a secret agency is real dangerous if u hear only its failures, coz it's successes might be even more chilling to know...".<ref>-J. EDGAR HOOVER{legendary d.g. FBI}</ref>
The film Ek revolves around a RAW agent, an ISI agent, and a CIA agent who don’t trust each other. The film is about how they learn to work together towards to stop a disaster from happening.
However there are films from Bollywood which refers to secret service, agents, espionage, terrorism etc. but none of them openly mention RAW. Out of these films notable are The Hero: Love Story of a Spy (Starring Sunny Deol and Priti Zinta)<ref></ref>, Aankhen (1968, Ramanand Sagar Production)<ref></ref>, 16 December (Starring Milind Soman, Sushant Singh, Dipanita Sharma)<ref></ref> etc. However 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<ref></ref>, is about military intelligence with elements of war, terrorism and the workings of RAW<ref></ref>. Telugu Movie star Arjun'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 RAW agent. Bala Krishna is doing the role of a Research and Analysis Wing officer in this film<ref></ref>.

[edit] References


[edit] Further reading

  • Inside RAW - Ashok Raina
  • Open Secrets: India's Intelligence Unveiled - Maloy Krishna Dhar, ISBN: 8170492408
  • Mission Pakistan - Maloy Krishna Dhar, ISBN: 0595304826
  • Fulcrum of Evil: ISI, CIA and Al qaeda Nexus - M K Dhar
  • Sin of National conscience - R.N.Kulkarni
  • Intelligence: Past, Present, Future - B.R.Raman
  • Indians Hand Evidence on bin Laden to US, Herald Sun, September 17 2001.
  • 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

[edit] See also

Research and Analysis Wing

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