The RAW: Understanding India's External Intelligence Agency

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Rage, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    The Research and Analysis Wing [RAW]​



    Synopsis


    The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is India's primary external intelligence agency. It was formed in September 1968, after it became apparent that the newly independent Republic of India lacked a credible external intelligence gathering agency after after the Indo-China War of 1962 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Its primary function is the collection of external intelligence, counter-terrorism, sabotage, counter-sabotage and covert external operations; in addition, it is responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations and individuals, in order to assess and advise Indian foreign policymakers. Until the creation of RAW, the Intelligence Bureau [IB] handled both internal and external intelligence.


    Formation & History


    Following an intelligence failure during the 1965 Sino-Indian Border War, then Prime Minister Jawahaarlaal Nehru order a dedicated foreign intelligence agency to be established, which became the Research and Analysis Wing. Prior to its inception, intelligence collection was primarily the responsibility of the Intelligence Bureau, an incorporated vestige of the Colonial Raj. In 1933, sensing the political turmoil which eventually led to the Second World War, the Intelligence Bureau's responsibilities were increased to include the collection of border intelligence along Unified India. In 1947, after independence, Sanjeevi Pillaii took over as the first Indian Director of the IB. Having been depleted of trained manpower by the exit of the British, Pillaii attempted to run the bureau on MI5 lines. Following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, in which the Army was alerted to cross-border infiltration by civilian intelligence, the Indian Chief of Army Staff General Jayantha Nath Chaudhury called for a more cohesive intelligence-gathering.


    Around the end of 1966, the concept of a separate foreign intelligence agency began to assume concrete shape. In 1968, after Indira Gandhi had taken over, it was decided that a full-fledged second security service was required. R. N. Kao, then deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau, submitted a blueprint for the new agency and was appointed as the Chief of India's first foreign intelligence agency. The R&AW was given the responsibility of strategic external intelligence, human as also technical, as well as concurrent responsibility together 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.


    The RAW was started as a wing of the main Intelligence Bureau with roughly 250 employees and an annual budget of Rs 2 crore (approximately $450,000) four decades ago. In the early seventies, its annual budget had risen to Rs. 30 crores while its personnel numbered several thousand.


    The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), under the Cabinet Secretariat, is responsible for co-ordinating and analyzing intelligence activities between the RAW, the Intelligence Bureau 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. The RAW's legal status is unusual, in that it is not an "Agency", but a "Wing" of the Cabinet Secretariat. Hence, R&AW is not answerable to the Parliament of India on any issue, which keeps it out of reach of the Right to Information Act.


    In 1971, R.N. Kao, director-founder of the RAW, had persuaded the Government to set up the Aviation Research Centre (ARC). The ARC's mandate was aerial reconnaissance and replaced the Indian Air Force's former 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.


    In 2008-09, the Governmen of India was rumoured to have added another intelligence agency dedicated to collection of technical intelligence. 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 measure. It is believed to be dealing with technological espionage, and research on imagery and communications using various platforms.


    Objectives


    The objectives of the R&AW at present are:

    • To monitor political and military developments in adjacent countries, including China and Pakistan, which have a direct or indirect bearing upon India's national security and upon the formulation of its foreign policy; Technical and Technological espionage under the auspices of the National Technical Facilities Organisation (NTFO).
    • To make the control and limitation of the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, mostly from European countries, the USA and China, a priority.
    • To gather intelligence on leadership, capabilities and organization of various insurgency groups operating in adjacent states that pose a national security or integrity threat, and to thwart these using covert operations, assassinations, sabotage, indirect political coercion and exo-agent and interagent collusion where possible.
    • To further geopolitical goals, encourage a strategic balance and evince a deterrence of external collusion with domestic insurgency groups by establishing working relationships with secessionist agencies abroad.
    • To provide security for India's nuclear program.


    Organization


    The 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 pre-processed (vetted) 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. The Director RAW is a member of the JIC Steering Committee and is authorized to brief the Prime Minister should the need arise.


    The chief of the RAW is designated Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Most of the position's occupants have been experts on either Pakistan or China. The head of the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), the external intelligence agency, enjoys greater autonomy of functioning than their counterparts in the UK and US and has the same privileged direct access to the Prime Minister as their UK counterparts. The control of the Cabinet Secretary over the RAW is limited to administrative and financial matters, with very little say in operational and policy matters. They also have the benefit of training in either US or the UK, and more recently in Israel. 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.


    An Additional Director is responsible for the Office of Special Operations and intelligence collected from different countries processed by large number of Joint Secretaries. 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.


    Another important branch under the operational control of the RAW is the Directorate General of Security (DGS). This agency has oversight over organizations like the Special Frontier Force (SFF), the Special Services Bureau (SSB) &c. Liaison with the military is maintained through the Military Intelligence Advisory Group and the Military Advisor to the Director RAW.


    Recruitment


    Initially, the 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, the agency 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 from the Armed Forces or Civil Service Officers. The Civil and Defense Service Officers permanently resign their cadre and join the Research and Analysis Service (RAS). However, according to recent reports, officers can return to their parent cadre after serving a specific period in the agency if they wish to.


    Some officers of the RAW are members of a specialized service, the Research and Analysis Service (RAS), but several officers also serve on deputation from other services. The RAW has sub-organizations like the Aviation Research Center (ARC), the Radio Research Center (RRC) or the Electronics and Technical Service (ETS), which have considerable capacity for technical intelligence gathering.


    Operations


    Numerous missions were assigned to RAW upon its creation. These included monitoring political and military developments in neighboring countries that affects Indian national security. Consequently, considerable attention is paid by RAW to Pakistan and China, countries that are traditional rivals of India.


    RAW has evolved from its origins as a part of the Intelligence Bureau to develop into India's predominant intelligence organization.


    Pakistan has 'accused' the Research and Analysis Wing of sponsoring sabotage in Punjab, where RAW is alleged to have supported the Seraiki movement, providing financial support to promote its activities in Pakistan and organizing an International Seraiki Conference in Delhi in November-December 1993. RAW has an extensive network of agents and anti-government elements within Pakistan, including dissident elements from various sectarian and ethnic groups of Sindh and Punjab. Published reports in Pakistan allege that as many as 35,000 RAW agents entered Pakistan between 1983-93, with 12,000 working in Sindh, 10,000 in Punjab, 8,000 in North West Frontier Province and 5000 in Balochistan.


    The RAW also provided training and arms to the Bangladeshi freedom fighters known as the 'Mukti Bahini' in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. The RAW's aid was instrumental in the creation and liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.


    During the course of its investigation the Jain Commission received testimony on the official Indian support to the various Sri Lankan Tamil armed groups in Tamil Nadu. From 1981, RAW and the Intelligence Bureau established a network of as many as 30 training bases for these groups in India. Centers were also established at the high-security military installation of Chakrata, near Dehra Dun, and in the Ramakrishna Puram area of New Delhi. This clandestine support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), some of whom were on the payroll of RAW, was later suspended. Starting in late 1986 the Research and Analysis Wing focused surveillance on the LTTE which was expanding ties with Tamil Nadu separatist groups. Rajiv Gandhi sought to establish good relations with the LTTE, even after the Indian Peace Keeping Force [IPKF] experience in Sri Lanka. But the Indian intelligence community failed to accurately assess the character of the LTTE and its orientation towards India and its political leaders. The LTTE assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was apparently motivated by fears of a possible re-induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and a crackdown on the LTTE network in Tamil Nadu.


    The RAW was heavily criticized in 1999, following the Pakistani incursions at Kargil. Critics accused RAW 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, RAW 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.


    Amalgamation of Sikkim: Bordered 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, the RAW was authorized to install a pro-Indian democratic government there, concomitant of which, in less than three years, Sikkim became the 22nd State of the Indian Union, on April 26, 1975.


    Operation Kaktus: 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 ***oom, the 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 the 6th parachute battalion of the Parachute Regiment from Agra and flew them over 2,000 km to Maldives. The Indian paratroopers landed at Hulule and restored the Government rule at Malé within hours. The operation, labelled Operation Kakus, also involved the Indian Navy. Swift operation by the military and precise intelligence by RAW quelled the insurgency.


    Operation 'Chanakya': This was the R&AW operation in the Kashmir region to infiltrate various ISI-backed Kashmiri separatist 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 separatist groups. The R&AW was successful at: i) unearthing the links between the ISI and the separatist groups; and ii) in infiltrating and neutralizing the militancy in the Kashmir valley. The RAW is also credited for creating a split in the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Operation 'Chanakya' also marked the creation of pro-Indian groups in Kashmir like the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen, Muslim Mujahideen etc. These counter-insurgencies consist of ex-militants and relatives of those slain in the conflict. Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen leader Kokka Parrey was later himself assassinated by separatists.


    The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan: After the rise of Pakistan and American-backed Taliban in Afghanistan during the Soviet war, India decided to side with the Northern Alliance and the Soviet Union. By 1996, the R&AW had built a military hospital at the Farkhor Air Base and used the airport to repair and operate the Northern Alliance's aerial support. The relationship was further cemented in the 2001 Afgan war. India supplied the Northern Alliance high altitude warfare equipment worth around $8–10 million, and the R&AW was also able to determine the extent of the Kunduz airlift.


    Operation Leech: Surrounded by the Arakans and dense forest, Burma/Myanmar had always been a worrisome point for Indian intelligence. As the major player in the area, India sought to promote democracy and install friendly puppet governments in the region. To these ends, it is alleged that the RAW cultivated Burmese rebel groups and pro-democracy coalitions, in particular the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). India allowed the KIA to carry limited trade in jade and precious stones using Indian territory as a conduit and later supplied them weapons. It is further alleged that the KIA chief Maran Brang Seng met RAW officials in Delhi twice. However, after it became apparent that the KIA became the main source of training and weapons for northeastern rebel groups, the RAW initiated a campaing of assassination of KIA leaders that included six top leaders, including the military wing chief of National Unity Party of the Arakans (NUPA), Khaing Raza, and the arrest and termination of several other Arakanese guerillas.


    Special Operations in Punjab: In the mid 1980's, the R&AW set up two covert groups, Counterintelligence Team-X(CIT-X) and Counterintelligence Team-J(CIT-J), the first directed at Pakistan[37] and the second at Khalistani groups. Rabinder Singh, an 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."


    The 'War on Terror': Although RAW'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 Al-Qaeda and Taliban targets for the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. 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 R&AW helped foil a third assassination plot against Pakistan's former President, General Pervez Musharraf.



    [persevero]...
     
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  3. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    [In continuum]....


    Controversies:


    The main controversies which have plagued the R&AW in recent years are over bureaucratization of the system, favoritism in promotions, ego clashes and inter-departmental rivalry. R&AW also suffers from ethnic and representative imbalances in the officer level. In 2006, Indian magazine Outlook reported that although India has a Muslim minority numbering around 160 million, not a single high level muslim officer existed in R&AW.


    Noted security analyst and former Additional Secretary B.Raman has criticised the agency for its asymmetric growth and has sought to summarize its abilities in the following: "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, relatively 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."


    In September 2007, R&AW was involved in a controversy due to a high profile Central Bureau of Investigation Task Force raid at the residence of Major General (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 the Official Secrets Act has also been filed against V K Singh. Another controversy erupted for the agency when a senior technical officer was arrested by the CBI on graft charges, on February 4, 2009. The scientist, a Director level employee, worked in the division that granted export licenses to companies dealing in “sensitive” items, including defence-related equipment. He was accused of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.1 lakh from a Chennai based manufacturer for obtaining an export license.


    In June 2004, the spy scandal involving former Joint Secretary and head of R&AW's South East Asia department Rabinder Singh's defection to the United States seriously tarnished the image of the organization as an effective agency. The RAW had already become suspicious about his movements and he was put under physical and telephone surveillance following the mistrust. He was 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. The embarrassing fiasco and major national security failure was attributed to weak surveillance, shoddy investigation and lack of coordination between the Counter-Intelligence and Security (CIS), the IB and the R&AW. Recently in an affidavit submitted to the court, R&AW deposed that Singh has been traced to and put under surveillance in New Jersey.


    In 2007, a spy scandal involving a Bangladeshi DGFI agent and known by the name of Diwan Chand Mallik was brought to light when he was known to have known posessed some important documents damaging to national security. A case of forgery was filed at the Lodhi Colony police station against the individual on the basis of a complaint by a senior R&AW official, however he was failed to be taken into custody.


    In Popular Culture

    Excessive secrecy and rare declassification of activities have ensured that the RAW has remained out of the public imagination. However, films like Mission Istanbul, Asambhav, Dasavathaaram and Veer-Zaara have either made mention of or fictionally predicated themselves upon the agency.



    Acknowledgments:

    http://www.fas.org/irp/world/india/...ysis Wing [RAW] - India Intelligence Agencies
    India Intelligence Organisation
    Research and Analysis Wing [RAW] - India Intelligence Agencies
    Research and Analysis Wing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    RAW: India's External Intelligence Agency - Council on Foreign Relations
    India, Intelligence and Security ? FREE India, Intelligence and Security information | Encyclopedia.com: Find India, Intelligence and Security research
    India's External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
    http://www.bt.com.bn/en/analysis/2008/01/10/critical_look_at_indias_intelligence_service.
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    RAW started with a bang but has over the years become like any other govt organization in India.
    Just becausebit doesn't havevto report to anyone but the PM and has an accounted funds, it's taken itself for granted. Others like the ISI use such freedom to become a terror, but RAW has gone the other way.

    Maybe it's recruitment policy has to change. Right now it's mainly recruiting from the police force and we know how the police force is in our country. I think RAW should make spying a career option for those interested. I remember reading the the newspaper as to how the MI6 publishes ads for recruitment.
     
  5. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    Yusufji the RAW has its onw Civil service cader for recruitment called Today, R&AW has its own service cadre, the Research and Analysis Service (RAS) to absorb talent
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    But the majority is from the police. And issues of being unprofessional and not upto scratch need to be addressed.
     
  7. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    this is a problem that has got excabrated with a system of Prement Deputation where by IPS officers are peremently deputated to the RAW
     
  8. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Isn't there a dedicated course like an Indian spook service that draws the best talent from the country andvthey be recruited? Just on the lines of IAS, IPS, IFS. I'm sure there are many out there wanting to be 007s.
     
  9. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    thats what the the Research and Analysis Service (RAS) is for
     
  10. JMM99

    JMM99 Regular Member

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    Good afternoon (from my time zone)

    My introductory thread is here.

    Yesterday, David at SWC (Small Wars Council) started a thread on "Indian Intelligence" which snips down to this:

    The attachment is from 2012:

    I post regularly in SWC's "Intelligence Forum" (current most active thread is on NSA metadata collection); but that is on US internal and external intelligence. On Indian and Pstani Intel I'm ignorant, and I know of no one at SWC who is an SME in this area. I also recognize the limitations in this area; per Balachandran "Also, no study on Indian intelligence is possible in view of the cloak of needless secrecy surrounding our intelligence organizations."

    Here's the pitch. We (USAians) need education - ignorance leads to arrogance (a manifestation of a real inferiority complex); as I think my friend Carl summed it up well in the Pstani ISI thread (#7):

    So, we could use an occasional post by an Indian expert in this area (in our condition, a good amateur would be an SME) to keep these threads on the straight and narrow; and we could learn something in the process.

    The package is:

    Salary: None
    Benefits: None
    Personal Satisfaction: Priceless

    I'm open to questions.

    Regards

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
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  11. chase

    chase Tihar Jail Banned

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    When i visualize RAW, i visualize a government office full of scattered files,slow moving fans and paan-ka-dhabbhas in corners. That may not be accurate but RAW is incompetent and this is a fact.
     
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  12. Voldemort

    Voldemort Senior Member Senior Member

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    Incompetent is a very strong word.
     
  13. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    R&AW is not so much incompetent as it is underfunded. The US devotes $52bn USD per year to its 'intelligence community'; another 30-40bn if you include black budget allocations in the DoD that go to covert military ops and C4ISR research.

    China devotes $110bn per year, in total, to 'domestic security', which, after excluding domestic police functions, leaves 50-60bn for internal CI and external intelligence-gathering.

    India doesn't even spend that much on its defence budget in total.
     

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