Research and Analysis Wing or RAW has always been a mysterious profile of astonishing curiosity, thanks to the depiction of intelligence in the world Cinema. Black tuxedo, advanced gadgets, thrill, women and wine is what we have as an impression of intelligence agencies but to what extent it stands true in real life?
Here are a few lesser known facts about RAW to bring out the James Bond in you.
1. RAW’s motto ‘धर्मो रक्षति रक्षित:’, translates into ‘the law protects when it is protected’. In this context, Dharma stands for the nation and explains that only who follows Dharma is protected and the ones ignorant will be destroyed.
2. RAW was established on September 21st, 1968 after the acknowledged shortcomings of Sino-India and Indo-Pakistan wars. Earlier, both domestic and foreign intelligence was handled by Intelligence Bureau but later the government under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided to initiate an independent agency that would counter the enemies beside wars too.
3. RAW agents are trained across the world to get special training in Krav Maga, self-defence and to get acquainted with super advance gadgets.
4. RAW’s insightful intelligence in 1984 about Pakistan’s operation ‘Ababeel’ intended to capture the Saltoro ridge in Siachen helped the Indian Army. The army then launched operation ‘Meghdoot’ hindering the Pakistan attack.
5. Recruitment in RAW has become simpler with time, picking students from Universities directly as per their skills. Ravinder Kaushik’s story is one such example. Earlier RAW used to hire people particularly from Intelligence Bureau, Indian Police Services and Indian Military or revenue departments.
6. The head of RAW is called the ‘Secretary’ (research) in the Cabinet Secretariat. RAW’s first director was Rameshwar Nath Kao and the current chief is Rajinder Khanna.
7. Pakistan’s involvement in Kargil attack was also confirmed by the RAW when they successfully tapped the telephonic conversation between Parvez Musharraf, then Pakistan army chief and his chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz.
7. Raw is kept out of the Right to Information (RTI) act as the agency in any way, is not answerable to the Parliament of India.
8. Raw is only answerable to two authorities, the Prime Minister of the Country, and the Joint Intelligence Committee.
10. Union of Sikkim
Post-Independence, Sikkim was ruled by a Maharaja. But in 1972, Indira Gandhi authorized RAW to install a pro-Indian democratic government in Sikkim. On April 26, 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd State of the Indian Union with its first democratic chief minister, Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa.
11. RAW training comprises of two levels, Basic and Advanced.
Basic training lasts around 10 days which include the introduction to intelligence and espionage with information security, financial and economic analysis etc. Case studies of other agencies like CIA, ISI and MI6 are part of their program with the lesson of no discrimination between a friend and a foe.
For advance training which goes for around 1-2 years, the recruit has to experience a Field Intelligence Bureau (FIB) to conduct operations in real certain conditions. It includes various skills for intelligence mission like making contacts, avoiding capture and the tactics to deal with interrogation if caught.
12. RAW trapped ISI in its own web
In POK, a Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organisation launched Al-Fatah for J&K. With the help of Indian Intelligence, J&K Police arrested 36 members of the organisation and decided to infiltrate Hashum Qureshi there to get more inside information.
When he was sent back to India, arrested by the BSF, he could not stand the interrogation and revealed that he was won over by the ISI and was trained to highjack a plane to execute hijacking of the plane piloted by Rajiv Gandhi. This gave a start to an interesting plan by the BSF and RAW.
RAW and BSF asked Qureshi to work for them to get saved from execution. Qureshi had to hijack an aircraft in exchange of 36 Al-Fatah members. A retired aircraft ‘Ganga’ was used for this with a toy pistol and fake grenade provided. Pakistani authorities allowed the plane to land as expected and soon the hijack was broadcasted by the radio informing Pakistan’s connections with terrorism. Qureshi was hailed as a freedom fighter in Pakistan and the passengers came back to India by road.
This helped in 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh as the banning of Pakistani flights thereafter the incident slowed down the arrival of Pakistani army.