R&AW’s Motto: The law protects when it is protected

The origin and development of Secret Agencies in ancient India is linked to the geopolitical conditions of the times when India was dotted with small states attempting to grab each other’s territory and wealth,

Espionage, euphemistically called the second oldest profession of the world finds a mention in the Indian Vedas, one of the most – if not the most – ancient of the human texts. References to espionage are also discernible in the ancient civilizations of India,Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Greece and China.

Secret Agencies in ancient India were considered as ‘Eyes Of The King


Any intelligence agency is as good as a successful operation. That is unfortunately the truth in the world of intelligence. To explain this better, lets take the example of the American CIA. When they were unable to detect the Pokhran nuclear tests and the 9/11 attacks they were criticised heavily but when they tracked down Saddam Hussain and Bin Laden, they were appreciated.

On the same lines every time a terrorist attack is successfully carried out in India by the Pakistani backed terrorists it is a success for the ISI and everytime RAW is able to avert any disaster or execute an operation like the Myanmar surgical strike or the removal of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha they have succeed.

Introduction :

RAW is basically a Secret Service established to perform clandestine operations based on the Chanakyan principles of deceit and guile. It has successfully destabilized neighboring countries, disintegrated independent states and backed the most notorious guerrilla organizations to achieve its ends. If it is compared to other intelligence agencies of the region, it emerges as an aggressive, cold-blooded and ruthless institution, engaged in the most macabre deeds.

The organization started with 250 people and about $400,000. It has since expanded to several thousand personnel, but its staffing and budget remain secret. However, an estimate by the U.S.-based Federation of American Scientists suggests that in 2000, RAW had about eight to ten thousand agents and a budget that experts place at $145 million. Unlike the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or Britain’s MI6, RAW reports directly to the prime minister instead of the Ministry of Defense.

The chief of RAW is designated secretary (research) in the Cabinet Secretariat, which is part of the prime minister’s office. Some officers of RAW are members of a specialized service, the Research and Analysis Service, but several officers also serve on deputation from other services such as the Indian Police Service.


History : 

The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW or RAW) is the primary foreign intelligence agency of. It was established in 1968 following the intelligence failures of the Sino-Indian and Indo-Pakistani wars, which persuaded the Government of India to create a specialized, independent agency dedicated to foreign intelligence gathering.

Prior to the inception of the Research and Analysis Wing, overseas 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 Intelligence 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 the IB. Having been depleted of trained manpower by the exit of the British, Pillai tried to run the bureau on MI5 lines. In 1949, Pillai organised a small foreign intelligence operation, but the Indian debacle in the Sino-Indian war of 1962 showed it to be ineffective. Foreign intelligence failure during the 1962 Sino-Indian War led then Prime Minister Jawahar lal Nehru to order a dedicated foreign intelligence agency to be established

Under the nine-year tenure of its first Director, Rameshwar Nath Kao, R&AW quickly came to prominence in the global intelligence community, playing a role in major events such as the independence of Bangladesh and the accession of the state of Sikkim to India. The agency’s primary function is gathering foreign intelligence, engaging in counter-terrorism, and promoting counter-proliferation. It is also involved in the security of India’s nuclear program, advising Indian policymakers, and advancing India’s interest abroad. Many foreign analysts consider the R&AW to be an effective organisation and identify it as one of the primary instruments of India’s national power.

First Director-R&AW : Rameshwar Nath Kao

Rameshwar Nath Kao (10 May 1918 – 20 January 2002) was the first chief of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) from its founding in 1969 to 1977 and helped in building R&AW.

After an intelligence hiccup of unable to predict the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and Operation Gibraltar of 1965, the Indian polity felt the need to establish a separate organisation for gathering intelligence for military purposes. Mr. Kao was handpicked by Jawaharlal Nehru himself, who knew him well, from his years as Nehru’s Head of Personal Security.

Mr. Kao also founded the Aviation Research Centre (ARC) at Charbatia,Orissa on his return from Ghana and subsequently the Joint Intelligence Committee.

Worlds well organised intelligence agencies acknowledge him as a  ‘One Of The Most Mysterious & Efficient spymasters of Era’

source (R.N.Kao)

Priorities & Focus :

R&AW had two prime priorities after its formation, The organization worked to strengthen its capability for intelligence gathering on Pakistan and China and for covert action in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).


Over time, R&AW’s objectives have broadened to include: 

  • Monitoring the political, military, economic and scientific developments in countries which have direct bearing on India’s national security and the formulation of its foreign policy.
  • Molding international public opinion and influence foreign governments with the help of the strong and vibrant Indian diaspora.
  • Covert Operations to safe guard India’s National interests.
  • Anti – Terror Operations and neutralizing terror elements posing a threat to India
  • To watch the development of international communism and the schism between the two big communist nations, the Soviet Union and China. As with other countries, both these powers had direct access to the communist parties in India.
  • To control and limit the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, from mostly European countries, America and more importantly from China.
  • Disinformation and Dissension.
  • Sabotage & Assassinations.
  • Communication of Intelligence,  Interception of Mail, Assessment of Information.
  • To control Pakistan sponsored militancy in FATA and Balochistan which, it considers as a grave threat to the national security and solidarity.
source (Baloch Freedom Fighter)

R&AW maintains active collaboration with other secret services in various countries. Its contacts with FSB (Russia), NDS, the Afghan agency, Israel’s Mossad, the CIA and MI6 (Britain) have been well-known, a common interest being Pakistan’s nuclear program.

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

R&AW obtains information critical to Indian strategic interests both by overt and covert means.

Operations :

From foiling evil terrorist plots to maintaining the secrecy of major nuclear programmes, Indian intelligence agencies have always proved their mettle.

Let’s have a look at some of the missions undertaken by RAW which rightfully prove that it is in fact, one of the best intelligence agencies around the world.

11. ELINT : Operations Aimed At China

ELINT — a word coined for the electronic intercept and analysis of intelligence — operations in the Himalayas in 1964, After China tested its first nuclear weapons on 16 October 1964, at Lop Nur, Xinjiang, India and the USA shared a common fear about the nuclear capabilities of China, then the CIA in the late 1960s decided to launch an ELINT operation along with RAW and ARC to track China’s nuclear tests and monitor its missile launches.

source (Nuclear Missile – China)

In more recent time, under a security agreement with Mongolia, R&AW along with NTRO have set up cybertapping infrastructure on the main internet communication cable in Mongolia which links rest of the world to China. Giving India unparalleled access to monitor and intercept outgoing and incoming internet traffic from China.

10. Operation Smiling Buddha:


Operation Smiling Buddha was the name given to India’s nuclear program. The task to keep it under tight wraps for security was given to RAW.This was the first time that R&AW was involved in a project inside India. It was in fact, such a secret mission that even the intelligence agencies of countries like China and USA were unaware of any such activity by India.

9. Operation Kahuta – RAW’s most daring operation & It’s Failure

source (Uranium Enrichment safe house-Pakistan)

Kahuta is the site of the A.Q.Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), Pakistan’s main nuclear weapons laboratory as well as an emerging center for long-range missile development. The primary Pakistani missile-material production facility is located at Kahuta, employing gas centrifuge enrichment technology to produce Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU).

R&AW first confirmed Pakistan’s nuclear programs by analyzing the hair samples snatched from the floor of barber shops near KRL, which showed that Pakistan had developed the ability to enrich uranium to weapons-grade quality.

RAW agents claim that in early 1978, they were on the verge of obtaining the plans and blueprint for Kahuta nuclear plant 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 RAW agent, but informed Pakistan of the offer. According to the report, Pakistanis caught and eliminated the RAW mole.

8.The Black Tiger :


It was in 1975 when Kaushik was first recruited by RAW. The 23-year old theater artist from Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, was put through two years of extensive training before being sent to Pakistan as India’s undercover agent.

After successful enrollment in Karachi University, Kaushik completed his law and went on to join the Pakistani Army. A commissioned officer at first, Kaushik was soon promoted to the rank of Major.

Passing on confidential information to RAW during the period of 1979 to 1983 proved extremely valuable for the Indian defense forces and gave Kaushik the title of ‘Black Tiger’.

7. Operation Meghdoot :

Operation Meghdoot, was in support of the Indian Army and paramilitary forces in Northern Ladakh, to secure control of the heights predominating the Siachin glacier, Siachen Glacier is the highest battlefield in the world.


R&AW was informed about the supply of very heavy duty arctic gear to the Pakistan army and without wasting time, RAW made the draft plan for the Indian troops to rise to the Siachen and secure it. It was the first ascent of the Indian troops that helped the country gain position before the others and safeguard it.



Myanmar because of its Military Dictatorship had always been a worrisome point for Indian intelligence. RAW tried to bring together all the Burmese rebel groups together, especially the Kiachin Independence Army (KIA), and allowed them to carry “jade” (a precious stone) trade through the Indian Territory and even supplied them with weapons to this effect.

A backfire was the rise of the KIA as the biggest ammunition supplier to the rebel groups creating havoc. RAW rose again and terminated the traitor KIA taking control again.



During the testing times of violence in Kashmir, RAW was given the task of infiltrating various ISI-backed Kashmiri separatist groups and restoring peace in the beautiful valley of Kashmir. RAW undertook Operation Chanakya to infiltrate various separatist groups inside Kashmir.

Their major success was in neutralising the terrorist activities in the valley. It successfully collected evidence regarding ISI’s involvement with the separatist groups and other terrorist activities. They were also able to create a split in the terrorist organization, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and create pro-Indian groups in Kashmir.

Peace was restored, and the operation also marked the creation of pro-Indian groups in Kashmir.

4. Creation of Bangladesh :


In the early 1970s, the army of Pakistan prosecuted a bloody military crackdown in response to the Bangladeshi independence movement. Nearly 10 million refugees fled to India. The R&AW’s Bangladeshi independence movement began in early 1970 by sowing discord among the disgruntled population of Bangladesh (then called East Pakistan).

The two and a half year old RAW trained the Bangladeshi organization Mukti Bahini to fight the Pakistani force. The Indian undercover agents operating in East Pakistan supplied Mukti Bahini relevant information and arms that gave them an edge over the Pakistani armed forces. R&AW was responsible for supplying information and heavy ammunition to this organization that led to Bangladesh War, its independence and later self-governance within months. Even USA hasn’t been successful at achieving this in Afghanistan and Iraq.

3. Operation Cactus :


In November 1988, around 200 Tamil rebels, a part of the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) invaded Maldives. The Indian Armed Forces, with assistance from RAW, at the request of the President of Maldives, launched a military campaign to clean out the mercenaries off the island nation. The Indian Air Force airlifted the 6th parachute battalion from Agra to Maldives. Swift and the precise operation carried out by the Indian Army, Navy and RAW helped restoring government’s rule in Male within hours.

2. Operation Lal Dora :

source (Indira Gandhi with Mauritius counterpart)

Operation Lal Dora or red line was a top secret operation of the elite Indian intelligence agency in Mauritius. The operation foiled a coup attempt by Paul Berenger against the democratically elected Mauritian government led by Anerood Jugnauth. Following a disagreement between the Indian army and Indian navy over who should lead the operation, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assigned the job to RAW.

Soon after that operation, Mauritius became a listening post for the Indian Navy that bolstered a 1974 agreement for sending Indian defence officers on deputation to its coast guard and helicopter squadron.

Operation Lal Dora has a special resonance today because of the Indian strategic community’s focus on promoting the Indian Navy’s role in the wider neighborhood, especially the Indian Ocean. This call for a blue water navy has been helped by the improved budgetary allocation for the Navy to buy military hardware.

1. Anti-Apartheid movement :


The Anti-Apartheid Movement (Against white supremacy policy was founded in 1960 to campaign for the eradication of apartheid. RAW had also been active in organizing popular movements supported by the Indian government in Africa. According to former RAW official B Raman, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had asked RAW to employ its agents in South Africa and Namibia to help the anti-apartheid movement.

Retired R&AW officers were deputed to work in training institutes of intelligence agencies of some African states.

Lust For Pakistan : Conspiracy Against R&AW

Political masters have historically compromised Indian intelligence, they have nothing to do with countries pride prestige self respect & security. here i am mentioning some historical betrayal by Indian Politicians to the nations as well as our brave intelligence officers.

1. The great betrayal :

 The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),  India’s external intelligence agency launched Operation Kahuta in 1977 to infiltrate into Pakistan’s atomic energy installations. Operation Kahuta is regarded by many as one of the most daring operations ever conducted by RAW.
The only reason it failed was due to a grave blunder made by then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai who botched up RAW’s most daring plan, Operation Kahuta by sharing top secret information with Pakistan Counterpart Zia-ul-Haq, that India was aware of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.

source (Morarji Desai with Zia-ul-Haq)

According to later reports, acting on this “tip-off”, the ruthless General immediately ordered R&AW assets in Pakistan to be found and neutralized. Subsequently, Indian agents were eliminated as their helpless handlers watched.

Pakistani intelligence eliminated RAW’s agents in Kahuta, leaving India in the dark about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program from then onwards.

2. Gujral Doctrine :

After historical betrayal by Morarji Desai, whatever intelligence network was left in Pakistan after Zia’s bloody cleanup was further destroyed by I K Gujral when he was Prime Minister in 1997-98.

source (I.K.Gujral)

Gujral had a serious allergy to R&AW and the first thing he did was to suspend all offensive ops within Pakistan. Even the IB was asked to go slow on Pakistani agents operating in India. In approximately 11 months, he systematically erased the organisation’s footprints in Pakistan to promote his so called peace doctrine.

Criticism of the Gujral Doctrine :

  • The Gujral Doctrine had a debilitating impact on R&AW’s ability to conduct intelligence operations in Pakistan. Strategic affairs specialists point out that on Mr. Gujral’s directions, the Pakistan special operations desk of R&AW was shut down, leading to a major gap in India’s intelligence capabilities. Analysts blame this as one of the key factors that led to the intelligence failure before the Kargil war commenced
  • Over the years, particularly after a series of terrorist attacks, the Gujral Doctrine came to be criticised particularly IK Gujral’s decision to dismantle India’s military ability to launch covert strikes against groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.


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