Thursday, November 22, 2007

Research and Analysis Wing
धर्मो रक्षति रक्षित:
धर्मो रक्षति रक्षित:
Agency overview
Formed 21 Sept 1968
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Agency Executive Ashok Chaturvedi, Director
Parent agency Prime Minister's Office, GoI
Child Agency The Aviation Research Centre

The Radio Research Center

Electronics & Tech. Services.

National Tech. Facilities Org.

Research and Analysis Wing (RAW or R&AW)[1] 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).



[edit] Evolution of R&AW

R. N. Kao (1918-2002). Founder Director of RAW
R. N. Kao (1918-2002). Founder Director of RAW

R&AW traces its origins to the post Sino-Indian war (October 20 - November 21, 1962)Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) instructing the setting up of a dedicated foreign intelligence agency. Prior to its inception, intelligence collection was primarily the responsibility of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) 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 of IB. 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. scenario where foreign intelligence failure led to the then Prime Minister

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. Kao[2], 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

The framework of Indian intelligence
The framework of Indian intelligence

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; 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 [3][4].

[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.[5] 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. [6][7]

The ARC operating bases at (Clockwise from top right) 1.Military Charbatia Air Base Cuttack, Orissa 20°33'N 85°53'E, 2.Military Dum Duma Air Station, Tinsukia, Assam 27°33'N 95°34'E , 3.Farkhor Air Base Farkhor/Ayni, Tajikistan 37°28'N 69°22'EChakrata Air Station, Chakrata, Uttarakhand 30°42'N 77°51'E 4.Chakrata Air Station, Chakrata, Uttarakhand 30°42'N 77°51'E.
The ARC operating bases at (Clockwise from top right) 1.Military Charbatia Air BaseCuttack, Orissa 20°33'N 85°53'E, 2.Military Dum Duma Air Station, Tinsukia, Assam27°33'N 95°34'E , 3.Farkhor Air BaseTajikistan37°28'N 69°22'EChakrata Air Station, Chakrata, Uttarakhand 30°42'N 77°51'E 4.Chakrata Air Station, Chakrata, Uttarakhand 30°42'N 77°51'E. Farkhor/Ayni,

There are four R&AW Aviation Research Centre operating bases:[8] at Charbatia in Cuttack; at Chakrata on the Uttarakhand-Himachal Pradesh border, also the headquarters of the elite Special Frontier Force; Dum Duma near Tinsukia in Assam; and at the Palam domestic airport in Delhi.[9] It is also alleged that Farkhor Air Base, the only Indian military base situated in a foreign country, at Farkhor/Ayni in Tajikistan,[10] 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 in Pakistan alone and more around the world. 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 Antonov 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) and Chetak's (Alouette IIIs), many of which are used to transport Special Frontier Force (SFF) commandos from their base at Chakrata, 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 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 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

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

The objectives of R&AW [11] 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.

[edit] The Organization

Further information: CIA Organizational Chart

R&AW has been organized on the lines of the CIA[12]. The chief of the RAW is designated

Organizational structure of R&AW.
Organizational structure of R&AW.

Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat. 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[13].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)[14] 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.

The internal structure of the RAW is a matter of speculation, but brief overviews of the same are present in the public domain. Attached to the HQ of RAW 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. [14]

[edit] Training of R&AW Agents[15]

RAW headqurters on Lodhi Road in New Delhi at 28°35'N 77°14'E.
RAW headqurters on Lodhi Road in New Delhi28°35'N 77°14'E. at

Recruitment[16] 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 extremely stringent.

Basic Training[17] 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[18]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

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.[19] 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, particularly Pakistan, 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 which is comprised of espionage, psychological warfare, subversion and sabotage.

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

[edit] Modus operandi

Diplomatic missions:[20] 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, 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 personnels remain a primary target for enrolment.

[edit] Directors of R&AW

Took office Left office Career Highlights
01 R. N. Kao 1968 1977 Founder Director of RAW, ARC • Bangladesh Liberation WarOperation Smiling Buddha
02 N. Santook 1977 1983 Founder Director of RRC, ETS
03 Girish Chandra Saxena 1983 1986 Collaborated with the Intelligence Agencies of US, the erstwhile USSR, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, etc • Kanishka bombing case
04 A.K. Verma 1986 1989 Operation CactusIndian Peace Keeping Force
05 G.S. Bajpai 1989 1991 Counter Insurgency operations
06 N. Narasimhan 1991 1993 Operation Chanakya
07 J.S. Bedi 1993 1994 Chief during 1993 Mumbai bombings • Specialist in China,Pakistan and counter terrorism.
08 A.S. Syali 1994 1996 Increased economic surveillance • Emphasis on advanced training and more recruitment
09 Ranjan Roy 1996 1997 Negotiation on Farkhor Air Base
10 Arvind Dave 1997 1999 Kargil WarOperation Shakti
11 Vikram Sood 1999 2003 Negotiated with IC 814 hijackers • Founder of National Technical Facilities Organisation
12 C D Sahay 2003 2005 Operation Leech • Revamped ARC • Inauguration of RAW headquarter at Lodhi Road, New Delhi
13 P K H Tharakan 2005 2007 Was instrumental in setting up of Nuclear Command Authority (India)
14 Ashok Chaturvedi 2007 Present Investigation of Samjhauta bombings

[edit] Major successes of R&AW

Pakistan's Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi signs the instrument of surrender on December 16, surrendering his forces to India's Lt. Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora.
Pakistan's Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi signs the instrument of surrender on December 16, surrendering his forces to India's Lt. Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora.
  • 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 Mahraja of Sikkim. In 1972April 26, 1975. 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
  • Special Operations:In the mid 1980s 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 ISIIK Gujral.[25] 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
  • Operation Chanakya:[27]
    A Pakistan magazine Herald published a cover story on the terrorist training camps in Pakistan, which was training Kashmiri and Afghan militants. A follow up story by Dawn newspaper confirmed its existence.
    A Pakistan magazine HeraldDawn newspaper confirmed its existence.[28] published a cover story on the terrorist training camps in Pakistan, which was training Kashmiri and Afghan militants. A follow up story by
    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 [29][30]. R&AW was successful not only in unearthing the links between the ISI and the terrorist groups, and also in infiltrating and neutralizing the militancy in the Kashmir valley.[31][32][33] 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:[34] The Pakistani government claims that dissent among the Balochis, tribals in the North-West Frontier Province, Waziristan, Northern Areasrural sindhi population is due to R&AW's interventions[35]. 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.[36] 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.[37] 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. and
  • 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) [38]. 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.[39]
  • 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[40].

[edit] R&AW's failures

  • ELINT operations in Himalayas:[41]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.[42] 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[43]. The monitoring device was near successfully implanted on Nanda Devi, however an avalanche forced a hasty withdrawal[44], 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[45]. However the actual data is not conclusive.
  • Kahuta's Blueprint:[46] [47]
    Ordinance Blueprint,Khan Research Laboratories, A.Q. Khan Laboratories, Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL), Kahuta, Pakistan 33°39'11"N 73°15'33"E.
    Ordinance Blueprint,Khan Research Laboratories, A.Q. Khan Laboratories, Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL), Kahuta, Pakistan33°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[48], they were on the verge of obtaining the plans and blueprint for Kahuta Research Laboratories that was built to counter the Pokhran 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[49]. According to conflicting reports, Pakistanis caught and eliminated the R&AW mole.
  • Mujibur Rahman's Assassination: R&AW operatives claim that they had advance information about Mujib-ur-Rahman's assassination but tragically Sheikh Mujib ignored[2] 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 extremist, LTTE and ISI[50].
  • SriLanka:[51] [52]. 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 ForceHeliborne 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. [53]. (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
  • Kanishka Bombing case:[54][55][56] 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[57].[58]
  • 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,[59] 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: [60]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[61]. According to unconfirmed reports Singh has surfaced in Virginia, USA.[62] Recently in an affidavit submitted to the court R&AW deposed that Singh has been traced to New Jersey[63].
  • 2007 Bangladeshi Spy Scandal:[64] The man in question here was a Bangladeshi national 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.[65]

[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 (although detractors of R&AW and especially the Janata Party has accused the agency of letting itself being used for terrorising and intimidating opposition during emergency). The main controversy which has plagued R&AW in recent year is over bureaucratisation of the system with allegation about favouratism in promotions etc.[66]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 mostly field officers.[67]. Noted security analyst and one time R&AW chief 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.[68][69] In September 2007, R&AW was in controversy due to the high profile CBI raid at the residence of Maj Gen (retired) V K Singh, a retired employee 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.[70]

[edit] Media portrayal

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 KasamRaaj Kumar, Priya Rajvansh). (Starring

The film Ek revolves around a R&AW 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.
The film Ek revolves around a R&AW 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 films like The Hero: Love Story of a Spy (Starring Sunny Deol and Priti Zinta)[71], Aankhen (1968, Ramanand Sagar Production, Starring Dharmendra, Mala Sinha)[72], Such a Long Journey (1998, UK Canada Co-production, Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, starring Naseeruddin Shah)[73], 16th December (Starring Milind Soman, Sushant Singh, Dipanita Sharma),[74] Hindustan Ki Kasam (1999, Starring Ajay Devgan in double role, Amitabh Bachchan) 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[75]. Apart from Bollywood the regional film industries of India has also cashed on the patriotic appeal of espionage, 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 a R&AW agent. Bala Krishna is doing the role of the R&AW officer in the film[76]. The Tamil movie Ottran casts cinestar Arjun again as a R&AW officer. 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 .