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Overview:

India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is the country’s premier intelligence agency. Established to satisfy the need for increased intelligence that was identified during the 1962 Sino-Indian Border War and during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, RAW was created in 1968 to handle India’s external intelligence affairs. 

 

Currently, RAW operates under the Prime Minster’s Office, and was intentionally established as a “wing” versus an “agency” in order to bypass agency reporting requirements to Parliament’s Right to Information Act. Accordingly, it is hard to find detailed information about the organization.

 

Since its inception, RAW is credited with providing intelligence support to many significant operations on foreign soil.  However, as with all of India’s intelligence organizations, RAW is not without flaws.  RAW is known for not working in cooperation with the Intelligence Bureau or other Indian intelligence agencies. This lack of cooperation and coordination has led to multiple inquiries into RAW’s true analytic capabilities and their overall relevance to the protection of Indian interests.

more
History:

Prior to 1968, India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) was responsible for all of India’s internal and external intelligence activities; however, the bureau was not equipped to handle the demands of both missions. This became apparent when India’s lack of Foreign Intelligence collection against China resulted in India’s defeat during the 1962 Sino-Indian border war. Three years later, the Indo-Pakistani war reinforced India’s need for a separate and distinct external intelligence organization.

 

In 1968, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed R. N. Kao as the first director of RAW. With 250 employees and a budget of $405,600, RAW undertook two primary missions:

  • Maintain awareness of the political and military activities of neighboring countries, primarily China and Pakistan
  • Promote the control of military equipment supplies into Pakistan

 

Under Kao’s leadership, from 1968 to 1977, RAW provided intelligence support, which resulted in many successful operations; the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, the defeat of Pakistan during the Kargil conflict of 1971, the accession of Sikkim in 1975, and the increase of Indian influence in Afghanistan. 

 

With all of the organization’s successes throughout its first decade, RAW quickly grew in both personnel and financing. By the mid-1970’s, reports indicate RAW’s budget had jumped to $6.1 million and their workforce increased to several thousand.  Additionally, as intelligence gaps were identified, Kao petitioned the Indian government to establish the Aviation Research Center (ARC), which would be responsible for providing aerial reconnaissance of neighboring countries.  This capability allowed RAW to better prepare for impending conflict by obtaining overhead images of installations and activities along the Chinese and Pakistani borders.

 

Today, while there is no concrete data available to the public pertaining to the budget and staffing of RAW, a study conducted by the Federation of American Scientists suggests the organization has approximately 8,000 to 10,000 employees and a budget estimated at $145 million USD.  One of the largest debates that presently surrounds RAW is the lack of transparency for their large budget.

more
What it Does:

Today, RAW is responsible for collecting military, economic, scientific, and political intelligence through covert and overt operations.  RAW is also charged with monitoring terrorist elements and smuggling rings that transport weapons and ammunition into India.

 

RAW’s main area of focus is India’s neighbors, particularly China and Pakistan.  Indian officials rely on the intelligence collected by RAW to shift national security policy, revise foreign policy, and to influence international public opinion.  Additional responsibilities of RAW include:

 

  • Using the National Technical Facilities Organization (NTFO)
  • Utilizing technical espionage to monitor political and military changes in neighboring countries
  • Providing security services for India’s nuclear program
  • Collecting intelligence about the capabilities, limitations, leadership, and organization of known insurgent groups that operate in neighboring countries and project influence into India

 

Attached Bodies or Autonomous Bodies

Aerial Reconnaissance Centre

The ARC is responsible for collection of high quality overhead imagery of activities and installations in neighboring countries.

 

Special Frontier Force

A paramilitary force in India, the Special Frontier Force is headed by the inspector general who reports to the director general of security for RAW. While the force has functions independent of RAW, it is often fielded to support covert and overt RAW missions.  

 

National Technical Facilities Organization/National Technical Research Organization

The function of the NTRO is suspected to be technological espionage. There are also indicators to suggest they perform imagery and communications analysis via varying platforms.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

One of the controversies that surrounds RAW is the lack of transparency pertaining to its budget. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the organization’s mission, they do not have to answer to Parliament and are therefore exempt from the Right to Information Act that would require disclosure of use of funds. With speculation that RAW has a questionable analytical capability and that they don’t coordinate with India’s domestic intelligence organizations, there is growing pressure for RAW to provide information about how their budget is used.

more
Controversies:

RAW’s Lack of Transparency

Due to the highly secretive nature of RAW, the organization is open to significant levels of speculative controversies. The greatest controversy surrounding the organization since the time of its inception is the lack of transparency and lack of accountability to the Indian citizens.  The fact that RAW is not answerable to the Right to Information Act leaves many questions in the minds of Indian citizens.  For example, how does RAW spend its allocated budget? How many people does RAW employ?  Is RAW tied into other intelligence agencies in India? 

 

All of these are legitimate questions that become even more pressing when events such as the attacks in Mumbai occur with no advance warning.  The citizens of India want to know that their premier intelligence agency is capable, competent, and effectively tied into India’s other agencies to ensure overall effectiveness of India’s intelligence apparatus. 

 

Indian Spy Agencies To Come Under Parliament Oversight? (IANS)

India: Possible Misuse of New TECHINT Capabilities – Analysis (by B. Raman, Eurasia Review)

Sleuths Oppose Making Intelligence Agencies Accountable (by Iftikhar Gilani, Tehelka)

 

Accusations of Corruption

Another controversy that plagues RAW today is the suspicion of corruption at senior officer levels of the organization.  The accusations against RAW include favoritism for promotion, misuse of funding, and internal rivalries that minimize the organization’s overall effectiveness. 

 

An editorial in one of Sri Lanka’s leading papers, The Daily Mirror, accused RAW personnel of being morally bankrupt and spiritually barren.  This comment was made in reference to an affair between a senior member of RAW and a senior member of another country’s “spy” agency, indicating that this was just one of many questionable activities occurring in the ranks of RAW.

 

Tale of RAW’s Underworld Mafia Don (by Makhdoom Babar, Daily Mail)

Maj Gen VK Singh's Fight against Corruption in RAW (Fight Corruption Now)

 

Support to Baloch Separatists

It is common knowledge that one of the main reasons RAW was initially established was to track activities of neighboring rival, Pakistan.  The controversy, however, is to what degree India’s “spy agency” has been involved in trying to weaken Pakistan through covert activities supporting separatists in Balochistan

 

One of RAWs claimed success stories is their involvement in Bangladesh’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in the 1970’s.  Today, multiple reports indicate that RAW is playing a similar role in aiding the Baloch separatists who are trying to gain their independence from Pakistan as well.  Pakistani’s believe India is supporting this activity in an attempt to weaken Pakistan and, eventually, aid in its collapse. India denies allegations of their involvement in Balochistan separatist activities and counters Pakistani claims by accusing Pakistan’s ISI of supporting the July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul. 

 

RAW Backed Baloch Separatists Attended Bonn Conference (Pakistan Observer)

India Running Terror Training Camps for Baloch Youths: Pak (by Rezaul H. Laskar, Outlook India)

'RAW Is Training 600 Balochis In Afghanistan' (by Mariana Baabar, Outlook India)

 

In the 1970’s, RAW provided weapons and training to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgency in order to promote instability in Sri Lanka.  India’s reasoning behind this was that Sri Lanka had provided support to Pakistan during the Indo-Pak War.  Then, in the 1980’s, LTTE’s terrorist activities grew out of control, even carrying over into the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  In 1989 India made a pact with Sri Lanka, agreeing to send peacekeeping troops into the country to try and contain the LTTE.  This mission resulted in a humiliating loss for India when they lost to the LTTE soldiers they had trained and LTTE aggression was not contained.  The final blow came when an LTTE suicide bomber assassinated Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.

 

Today, controversy persists about the degree of RAW’s involvement and the level of their competence during operations in Sri Lanka.  Many human rights organizations continue to criticize India and RAW for their involvement with LTTE. 

 

Support to Sri Lankan LTTE (Council on Foreign Relations)

Understanding Relations Between RAW and LTTE (by Afshain Afzal, Daily News)

Indian Army & RAW Train Tamil Tiger [LTTE] Terrorists (IBNLive)

India’s Unconventional War Strategy (by Dr Shireen M Mazari, Defense Journal)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Establishment of Intelligence Oversight

The most common suggested reform pertaining to RAW is the call for the institution of an Oversight committee to maintain awareness of RAW’s capabilities, limitations, and financial expenditures.  In September 2011 a bill was introduced to Congress – the Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011. This bill called for monitoring of the Intelligence Bureau, the NTRO, and RAW. 

 

Proponents of establishing intelligence oversight claim that these agencies need to have accountability to maintain effectiveness and to avoid the temptations of corrupt practices.  The dissidents of intelligence oversight claim that the agencies in question will be weakened by such a requirement and that national security will be jeopardized. 

 

Until Congress passes a bill that they find suitable to provide some oversight without compromising security, it is likely that citizens will continue to draft and recommend intelligence oversight reform plans for consideration in Congress.

more
Debate:

Electronic Surveillance

One debate that currently persists is centered on recent reports of RAW acquiring legal permission to intercept Indian citizens’ phone calls, emails, and electronic communications.  For the first time in the history of RAW, the organization is being granted permission to “spy” on Indian citizens.  While the Indian government insists this is a necessary step, most Indian citizens are outraged.

 

Pro-Electronic Surveillance:

The Indian government argues that allowing RAW to monitor citizens’ phone calls, emails, and electronic communications is a necessary step to ensure the agency’s ability to legally obtain evidence against terrorists inside of India.  The Ministry of Home Affairs issued this order shortly after the Hindu, working in conjunction with WikiLeaks, released multiple articles about India’s intelligence communications capabilities.

 

Proponents of domestic electronic surveillance argue that, prior to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, investigators had access to intercepted communications between attackers and their Pakistan based handlers.  They argue that the only way the intercepted communications would be admissible in court is if the collectors had legal cover.

 

R&AW Notified To Legally Intercept Phone, Emails (Nagaland Post)

RAW Gets Power To Tap Phones, Track Emails (Times of India)

Now, RAW Can Legally Intercept Calls, Emails (by Vinay Kumar, The Hindu)

 

Anti-Electronic Surveillance

On the opposite side of the argument, Indian citizens feel that providing RAW with legal permission to tap phones and track electronic activities is diminishing their rights to privacy. A report by Daily News and Analysis compared India’s domestic intelligence collection policies to those in the United States and Britain indicating that the U.S. and Britain have acts of Parliament in place to protect their citizens while the Indian parliament doesn’t offer such protection.  They argue that the protective regulations that are in place are not established by Parliament, and therefore, offer limited protection.  Ultimately, opponents to electronic surveillance argue that the right to privacy is the right of every Indian citizen under the Constitution of India and providing RAW legal cover to “spy” on India’s citizens is in direct violation of their guaranteed rights. 

 

DNA Exclusive: RAW Invades your Privacy (by Salkat Datta and Manan Kumar, Daily News and Analysis)

 

 

Intelligence Oversight

Intelligence oversight is an ongoing debate in India because there is a fine line between the need for accountability and the need for secrecy within each intelligence agency.  RAW’s exclusion from the Right to Information Act and their excessively secretive policies combined with previous incidents of security violations and indications of poorly executed intelligence missions draw increased attention during the debate over the need for intelligence oversight.  Consequently, many Indian citizens believe that the increased intelligence oversight would greatly improve the capabilities of India’s intelligence agencies; however, others believe that oversight would do nothing more than jeopardize national security.

 

Pro-Intelligence Oversight

Congress Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari recently introduced a private member’s bill, the Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011, to Congress.  Along with supporters of the intelligence oversight debate, Tewari believes that the lack of checks and balances for India’s IB, RAW, and NTRO have lead to problems like corruption, inaccurate intelligence analysis, abuse of funding, and lack of coordination and effectiveness among intelligence agencies.  Supporters of intelligence oversight believe that this measure of accountability will enable India’s intelligence agencies to operate much more effectively and efficiently.

 

Eye on the Spies (The Telegraph)

 

Anti-Intelligence Oversight

Opposition to the idea of intelligence oversight feels that Parliamentary oversight of the intelligence structure in India will present roadblocks to the operations of the affected agencies.  Former National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, is among those who are concerned about the impact oversight will have on the ability of the intelligence community to perform their duties without jeopardizing national security.

 

The Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011 (by Shayam Prasad, CJNews India)

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Former Directors:

Sanjeev K Tripathi (2010 – 2012)

Between December 2010 and December 2012, Sanjeev K Tripathi served as the 19th Secretary (Research), the head of RAW.

Born Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, in December 1950, Tripathi joined the Indian Police Services UP cadre in 1972. A few years later, Tripathi transferred to the Research and Analysis Services, RAS, a feeder for India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Tripathi appears to have advanced his career through powerful connections.  He married the daughter of GS Bajpai, who headed R&AW in 1990 and 1991, coincidentally; the same year the Sri Lankan separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam assassinated former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi.  

Tripathi later found a mentor in Ashok Chaturvedi—Secretary (R) from 2007 to 2009. In 2009, Tripathi took charge of RAW’s Aviation Research Centre, (ARC).

Despite his connections, Tripathi’s ascent to lead India’s apex spy agency was replete with the sort of high bureaucratic drama that often typifies Indian politics.

Before retiring, Chaturvedi pushed for Tripathi to head RAW but National Security Adviser MK Narayanan prevented the appointment. Narayanan instead tapped his Special Secretary in the agency, PV Kumar—they both hail from Kerala. But the Home Minister, P Chidambaram due to his ongoing turf battle with Narayanan, vetoed the NSA’s efforts and he finally installed his own security adviser, KC Verma, the chief. Chidambaram reportedly forced Narayanan out in January 2010.

Verma was to retire on January 31, 2011, by the time Tripathi would have had already retired. Verma, after in-house political maneuvering, decided to resign in late December 2010, which allowed Tripathi to head RAW.

On becoming the chief, Tripathi thwarted hopes of AK Arni to lead the agency. Arni was the last of the Kaoboys—officers of RAS cadre recruited during first RAW chief RN Kao’s tenure.

Tripathi is no stranger to scandal. During a posting in Mauritius, his wife exhibited her paintings at the Indian High Commission, drawing criticism.  While heading ARC, he allowed Chaturvedi and his wife to use the agency’s helicopter for personal travel.

More serious allegations of malfeasance came in 2009, when ARC awarded the Israeli firm ELTA a $300 million USD equipment contract. Though rumored to have an interest in the deal, a government investigation cleared him of wrongdoing in 2011.

Chaturvedi further tainted Tripathi. One former R&AW man, Major General V.K. Singh, published a book accusing Chaturvedi and Tripathi of trying to sabotage his career. And after Chaturvedi’s alcohol-related death in 2011, many more corruption allegations surfaced.

In August 2012, RAW recalled their Beijing station chief and dismissed him. A few national newspapers broke with unspoken media protocol and reported the firing. 

 

K. C. Verma (2009-2010)

K.C. Verma started out at the Intelligence Bureau. After 30 years with the IB, in 2005, he was appointed as the head of the Narcotics Control Bureau.  He was later promoted to Secretary of Security and, for a short time, served as the Internal Security Adviser to the Home Minister before being selected to succeed Ashok Chaturvedi as the Chief of RAW.

Verma’s greatest challenge during his time as chief was to implement measures to slow or stop corruption throughout the organization. Controversies that persist today indicate that he failed to accomplish this mission.

 

Ashok Chaturvedi (2007 -2009)

Ashok Chaturvedi took office amongst layers of controversy, as his appointment was contested by many in the intelligence community who believed he was not qualified for the position, and may ultimately jeopardize Indian national security interests.  During his time as the chief of the external intelligence agency, controversies and intelligence failures plagued RAW and damaged the agency’s reputation. 

 

P. K. Hormis Tharakan (2005-2007)

Prior to becoming the chief of RAW, P.K. Tharakan was the director of the Kerala Police.  Reports indicate that he transformed the Karala Police and, Prime Minister Singh appointed him to head RAW in hopes that he would transform the spy agency as well.  Tharakan was an IPS Officer of the Kerala Cadre, 1968 batch.

 

C. D. Sahay (2003-2005)

Sahay was appointed as the 15th Chief of RAW.  He spent the majority of his career serving in various capacities within RAW, all of which culminated in his appointment as Chief.  Sahay is the first RAW Chief to have undergone intelligence training in Israel.

 

more
See all 21 comments

Comments

manikandan 1 week ago
Bishal Jha in Bangalore destroying India with lots of power. I have so many secret information to share. Please contact me.
Dr Neamul Bashir 3 weeks ago
DEAR SIR, COULD YOU PLEASE SEND ME YOUR CHIEF';S EMAIL ADDRESS TO SEND FEW CONFIDENTIAL MESSAGE? IT'S REALLY URGENT.RGDS,DR.NEAMUL BASHIR,POLITICAL SECRETARY OF DR.COL.OLI AHMAD,PRESIDENT,LDP BANGLADESH
------- 4 weeks ago
Nation first. JAI HIND.
arun kumar 1 month ago
i think RAW is a waste of time there is no change in this country in intelligence, i hope your not protecting people from territory issues your just collect your monthly salary from RAW, you never respect your country people you just protect your senior officers, every country giving a threat to us china, sriLankan, Pakistan. India is treasure but we loosing our treasure we never develop our country were here to sell our country to other country........ jai hind am arun from tamil nadu in Chennai -600073
Sagar 2 months ago
hello sir/madam im from karnatak.i want to join indian RAW service.how can i possiblly join the service.please guid me.Thank you Regards
BLACK 3 months ago
If my country will ever need me then I will be there as her daughter. I will visit here soon. One more thing I would prefer to remain BLACK. "SAARE JAHAN SE ACHA HINDUSTAN HAMARA"
Farhat Ullah khan 3 months ago
Indian agency raw is a terrorist agency he always support terrorist groups in pakistan and afghanistan kashmir baga ga pakistan
Farhat Ullah khan 3 months ago
isi is the most powerful agency he always beat raw agents i love isi proud of pakistan
chandan 3 months ago
I want to join raw from hacker grade to serve nation. I AM FROM UTTARAKAND MY GRANDFATHER WAS IN ARMY I AM LIVING NOW IN DELHI PLEASE INFORM ME IF NATION WANT ME. Jai Hind Jai Bharat
Akhil 3 months ago
How can I join RAW, India ?

Leave a comment

Founded: 1968
Annual Budget: $145 million
Employees: 8,000
Official Website: http://www.mha.nic.in/
Research and Analysis Wing
  • Latest News
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is the country’s premier intelligence agency. Established to satisfy the need for increased intelligence that was identified during the 1962 Sino-Indian Border War and during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, RAW was created in 1968 to handle India’s external intelligence affairs. 

 

Currently, RAW operates under the Prime Minster’s Office, and was intentionally established as a “wing” versus an “agency” in order to bypass agency reporting requirements to Parliament’s Right to Information Act. Accordingly, it is hard to find detailed information about the organization.

 

Since its inception, RAW is credited with providing intelligence support to many significant operations on foreign soil.  However, as with all of India’s intelligence organizations, RAW is not without flaws.  RAW is known for not working in cooperation with the Intelligence Bureau or other Indian intelligence agencies. This lack of cooperation and coordination has led to multiple inquiries into RAW’s true analytic capabilities and their overall relevance to the protection of Indian interests.

more
History:

Prior to 1968, India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) was responsible for all of India’s internal and external intelligence activities; however, the bureau was not equipped to handle the demands of both missions. This became apparent when India’s lack of Foreign Intelligence collection against China resulted in India’s defeat during the 1962 Sino-Indian border war. Three years later, the Indo-Pakistani war reinforced India’s need for a separate and distinct external intelligence organization.

 

In 1968, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed R. N. Kao as the first director of RAW. With 250 employees and a budget of $405,600, RAW undertook two primary missions:

  • Maintain awareness of the political and military activities of neighboring countries, primarily China and Pakistan
  • Promote the control of military equipment supplies into Pakistan

 

Under Kao’s leadership, from 1968 to 1977, RAW provided intelligence support, which resulted in many successful operations; the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, the defeat of Pakistan during the Kargil conflict of 1971, the accession of Sikkim in 1975, and the increase of Indian influence in Afghanistan. 

 

With all of the organization’s successes throughout its first decade, RAW quickly grew in both personnel and financing. By the mid-1970’s, reports indicate RAW’s budget had jumped to $6.1 million and their workforce increased to several thousand.  Additionally, as intelligence gaps were identified, Kao petitioned the Indian government to establish the Aviation Research Center (ARC), which would be responsible for providing aerial reconnaissance of neighboring countries.  This capability allowed RAW to better prepare for impending conflict by obtaining overhead images of installations and activities along the Chinese and Pakistani borders.

 

Today, while there is no concrete data available to the public pertaining to the budget and staffing of RAW, a study conducted by the Federation of American Scientists suggests the organization has approximately 8,000 to 10,000 employees and a budget estimated at $145 million USD.  One of the largest debates that presently surrounds RAW is the lack of transparency for their large budget.

more
What it Does:

Today, RAW is responsible for collecting military, economic, scientific, and political intelligence through covert and overt operations.  RAW is also charged with monitoring terrorist elements and smuggling rings that transport weapons and ammunition into India.

 

RAW’s main area of focus is India’s neighbors, particularly China and Pakistan.  Indian officials rely on the intelligence collected by RAW to shift national security policy, revise foreign policy, and to influence international public opinion.  Additional responsibilities of RAW include:

 

  • Using the National Technical Facilities Organization (NTFO)
  • Utilizing technical espionage to monitor political and military changes in neighboring countries
  • Providing security services for India’s nuclear program
  • Collecting intelligence about the capabilities, limitations, leadership, and organization of known insurgent groups that operate in neighboring countries and project influence into India

 

Attached Bodies or Autonomous Bodies

Aerial Reconnaissance Centre

The ARC is responsible for collection of high quality overhead imagery of activities and installations in neighboring countries.

 

Special Frontier Force

A paramilitary force in India, the Special Frontier Force is headed by the inspector general who reports to the director general of security for RAW. While the force has functions independent of RAW, it is often fielded to support covert and overt RAW missions.  

 

National Technical Facilities Organization/National Technical Research Organization

The function of the NTRO is suspected to be technological espionage. There are also indicators to suggest they perform imagery and communications analysis via varying platforms.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

One of the controversies that surrounds RAW is the lack of transparency pertaining to its budget. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the organization’s mission, they do not have to answer to Parliament and are therefore exempt from the Right to Information Act that would require disclosure of use of funds. With speculation that RAW has a questionable analytical capability and that they don’t coordinate with India’s domestic intelligence organizations, there is growing pressure for RAW to provide information about how their budget is used.

more
Controversies:

RAW’s Lack of Transparency

Due to the highly secretive nature of RAW, the organization is open to significant levels of speculative controversies. The greatest controversy surrounding the organization since the time of its inception is the lack of transparency and lack of accountability to the Indian citizens.  The fact that RAW is not answerable to the Right to Information Act leaves many questions in the minds of Indian citizens.  For example, how does RAW spend its allocated budget? How many people does RAW employ?  Is RAW tied into other intelligence agencies in India? 

 

All of these are legitimate questions that become even more pressing when events such as the attacks in Mumbai occur with no advance warning.  The citizens of India want to know that their premier intelligence agency is capable, competent, and effectively tied into India’s other agencies to ensure overall effectiveness of India’s intelligence apparatus. 

 

Indian Spy Agencies To Come Under Parliament Oversight? (IANS)

India: Possible Misuse of New TECHINT Capabilities – Analysis (by B. Raman, Eurasia Review)

Sleuths Oppose Making Intelligence Agencies Accountable (by Iftikhar Gilani, Tehelka)

 

Accusations of Corruption

Another controversy that plagues RAW today is the suspicion of corruption at senior officer levels of the organization.  The accusations against RAW include favoritism for promotion, misuse of funding, and internal rivalries that minimize the organization’s overall effectiveness. 

 

An editorial in one of Sri Lanka’s leading papers, The Daily Mirror, accused RAW personnel of being morally bankrupt and spiritually barren.  This comment was made in reference to an affair between a senior member of RAW and a senior member of another country’s “spy” agency, indicating that this was just one of many questionable activities occurring in the ranks of RAW.

 

Tale of RAW’s Underworld Mafia Don (by Makhdoom Babar, Daily Mail)

Maj Gen VK Singh's Fight against Corruption in RAW (Fight Corruption Now)

 

Support to Baloch Separatists

It is common knowledge that one of the main reasons RAW was initially established was to track activities of neighboring rival, Pakistan.  The controversy, however, is to what degree India’s “spy agency” has been involved in trying to weaken Pakistan through covert activities supporting separatists in Balochistan

 

One of RAWs claimed success stories is their involvement in Bangladesh’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in the 1970’s.  Today, multiple reports indicate that RAW is playing a similar role in aiding the Baloch separatists who are trying to gain their independence from Pakistan as well.  Pakistani’s believe India is supporting this activity in an attempt to weaken Pakistan and, eventually, aid in its collapse. India denies allegations of their involvement in Balochistan separatist activities and counters Pakistani claims by accusing Pakistan’s ISI of supporting the July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul. 

 

RAW Backed Baloch Separatists Attended Bonn Conference (Pakistan Observer)

India Running Terror Training Camps for Baloch Youths: Pak (by Rezaul H. Laskar, Outlook India)

'RAW Is Training 600 Balochis In Afghanistan' (by Mariana Baabar, Outlook India)

 

In the 1970’s, RAW provided weapons and training to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgency in order to promote instability in Sri Lanka.  India’s reasoning behind this was that Sri Lanka had provided support to Pakistan during the Indo-Pak War.  Then, in the 1980’s, LTTE’s terrorist activities grew out of control, even carrying over into the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  In 1989 India made a pact with Sri Lanka, agreeing to send peacekeeping troops into the country to try and contain the LTTE.  This mission resulted in a humiliating loss for India when they lost to the LTTE soldiers they had trained and LTTE aggression was not contained.  The final blow came when an LTTE suicide bomber assassinated Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.

 

Today, controversy persists about the degree of RAW’s involvement and the level of their competence during operations in Sri Lanka.  Many human rights organizations continue to criticize India and RAW for their involvement with LTTE. 

 

Support to Sri Lankan LTTE (Council on Foreign Relations)

Understanding Relations Between RAW and LTTE (by Afshain Afzal, Daily News)

Indian Army & RAW Train Tamil Tiger [LTTE] Terrorists (IBNLive)

India’s Unconventional War Strategy (by Dr Shireen M Mazari, Defense Journal)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Establishment of Intelligence Oversight

The most common suggested reform pertaining to RAW is the call for the institution of an Oversight committee to maintain awareness of RAW’s capabilities, limitations, and financial expenditures.  In September 2011 a bill was introduced to Congress – the Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011. This bill called for monitoring of the Intelligence Bureau, the NTRO, and RAW. 

 

Proponents of establishing intelligence oversight claim that these agencies need to have accountability to maintain effectiveness and to avoid the temptations of corrupt practices.  The dissidents of intelligence oversight claim that the agencies in question will be weakened by such a requirement and that national security will be jeopardized. 

 

Until Congress passes a bill that they find suitable to provide some oversight without compromising security, it is likely that citizens will continue to draft and recommend intelligence oversight reform plans for consideration in Congress.

more
Debate:

Electronic Surveillance

One debate that currently persists is centered on recent reports of RAW acquiring legal permission to intercept Indian citizens’ phone calls, emails, and electronic communications.  For the first time in the history of RAW, the organization is being granted permission to “spy” on Indian citizens.  While the Indian government insists this is a necessary step, most Indian citizens are outraged.

 

Pro-Electronic Surveillance:

The Indian government argues that allowing RAW to monitor citizens’ phone calls, emails, and electronic communications is a necessary step to ensure the agency’s ability to legally obtain evidence against terrorists inside of India.  The Ministry of Home Affairs issued this order shortly after the Hindu, working in conjunction with WikiLeaks, released multiple articles about India’s intelligence communications capabilities.

 

Proponents of domestic electronic surveillance argue that, prior to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, investigators had access to intercepted communications between attackers and their Pakistan based handlers.  They argue that the only way the intercepted communications would be admissible in court is if the collectors had legal cover.

 

R&AW Notified To Legally Intercept Phone, Emails (Nagaland Post)

RAW Gets Power To Tap Phones, Track Emails (Times of India)

Now, RAW Can Legally Intercept Calls, Emails (by Vinay Kumar, The Hindu)

 

Anti-Electronic Surveillance

On the opposite side of the argument, Indian citizens feel that providing RAW with legal permission to tap phones and track electronic activities is diminishing their rights to privacy. A report by Daily News and Analysis compared India’s domestic intelligence collection policies to those in the United States and Britain indicating that the U.S. and Britain have acts of Parliament in place to protect their citizens while the Indian parliament doesn’t offer such protection.  They argue that the protective regulations that are in place are not established by Parliament, and therefore, offer limited protection.  Ultimately, opponents to electronic surveillance argue that the right to privacy is the right of every Indian citizen under the Constitution of India and providing RAW legal cover to “spy” on India’s citizens is in direct violation of their guaranteed rights. 

 

DNA Exclusive: RAW Invades your Privacy (by Salkat Datta and Manan Kumar, Daily News and Analysis)

 

 

Intelligence Oversight

Intelligence oversight is an ongoing debate in India because there is a fine line between the need for accountability and the need for secrecy within each intelligence agency.  RAW’s exclusion from the Right to Information Act and their excessively secretive policies combined with previous incidents of security violations and indications of poorly executed intelligence missions draw increased attention during the debate over the need for intelligence oversight.  Consequently, many Indian citizens believe that the increased intelligence oversight would greatly improve the capabilities of India’s intelligence agencies; however, others believe that oversight would do nothing more than jeopardize national security.

 

Pro-Intelligence Oversight

Congress Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari recently introduced a private member’s bill, the Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011, to Congress.  Along with supporters of the intelligence oversight debate, Tewari believes that the lack of checks and balances for India’s IB, RAW, and NTRO have lead to problems like corruption, inaccurate intelligence analysis, abuse of funding, and lack of coordination and effectiveness among intelligence agencies.  Supporters of intelligence oversight believe that this measure of accountability will enable India’s intelligence agencies to operate much more effectively and efficiently.

 

Eye on the Spies (The Telegraph)

 

Anti-Intelligence Oversight

Opposition to the idea of intelligence oversight feels that Parliamentary oversight of the intelligence structure in India will present roadblocks to the operations of the affected agencies.  Former National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, is among those who are concerned about the impact oversight will have on the ability of the intelligence community to perform their duties without jeopardizing national security.

 

The Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011 (by Shayam Prasad, CJNews India)

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Former Directors:

Sanjeev K Tripathi (2010 – 2012)

Between December 2010 and December 2012, Sanjeev K Tripathi served as the 19th Secretary (Research), the head of RAW.

Born Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, in December 1950, Tripathi joined the Indian Police Services UP cadre in 1972. A few years later, Tripathi transferred to the Research and Analysis Services, RAS, a feeder for India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Tripathi appears to have advanced his career through powerful connections.  He married the daughter of GS Bajpai, who headed R&AW in 1990 and 1991, coincidentally; the same year the Sri Lankan separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam assassinated former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi.  

Tripathi later found a mentor in Ashok Chaturvedi—Secretary (R) from 2007 to 2009. In 2009, Tripathi took charge of RAW’s Aviation Research Centre, (ARC).

Despite his connections, Tripathi’s ascent to lead India’s apex spy agency was replete with the sort of high bureaucratic drama that often typifies Indian politics.

Before retiring, Chaturvedi pushed for Tripathi to head RAW but National Security Adviser MK Narayanan prevented the appointment. Narayanan instead tapped his Special Secretary in the agency, PV Kumar—they both hail from Kerala. But the Home Minister, P Chidambaram due to his ongoing turf battle with Narayanan, vetoed the NSA’s efforts and he finally installed his own security adviser, KC Verma, the chief. Chidambaram reportedly forced Narayanan out in January 2010.

Verma was to retire on January 31, 2011, by the time Tripathi would have had already retired. Verma, after in-house political maneuvering, decided to resign in late December 2010, which allowed Tripathi to head RAW.

On becoming the chief, Tripathi thwarted hopes of AK Arni to lead the agency. Arni was the last of the Kaoboys—officers of RAS cadre recruited during first RAW chief RN Kao’s tenure.

Tripathi is no stranger to scandal. During a posting in Mauritius, his wife exhibited her paintings at the Indian High Commission, drawing criticism.  While heading ARC, he allowed Chaturvedi and his wife to use the agency’s helicopter for personal travel.

More serious allegations of malfeasance came in 2009, when ARC awarded the Israeli firm ELTA a $300 million USD equipment contract. Though rumored to have an interest in the deal, a government investigation cleared him of wrongdoing in 2011.

Chaturvedi further tainted Tripathi. One former R&AW man, Major General V.K. Singh, published a book accusing Chaturvedi and Tripathi of trying to sabotage his career. And after Chaturvedi’s alcohol-related death in 2011, many more corruption allegations surfaced.

In August 2012, RAW recalled their Beijing station chief and dismissed him. A few national newspapers broke with unspoken media protocol and reported the firing. 

 

K. C. Verma (2009-2010)

K.C. Verma started out at the Intelligence Bureau. After 30 years with the IB, in 2005, he was appointed as the head of the Narcotics Control Bureau.  He was later promoted to Secretary of Security and, for a short time, served as the Internal Security Adviser to the Home Minister before being selected to succeed Ashok Chaturvedi as the Chief of RAW.

Verma’s greatest challenge during his time as chief was to implement measures to slow or stop corruption throughout the organization. Controversies that persist today indicate that he failed to accomplish this mission.

 

Ashok Chaturvedi (2007 -2009)

Ashok Chaturvedi took office amongst layers of controversy, as his appointment was contested by many in the intelligence community who believed he was not qualified for the position, and may ultimately jeopardize Indian national security interests.  During his time as the chief of the external intelligence agency, controversies and intelligence failures plagued RAW and damaged the agency’s reputation. 

 

P. K. Hormis Tharakan (2005-2007)

Prior to becoming the chief of RAW, P.K. Tharakan was the director of the Kerala Police.  Reports indicate that he transformed the Karala Police and, Prime Minister Singh appointed him to head RAW in hopes that he would transform the spy agency as well.  Tharakan was an IPS Officer of the Kerala Cadre, 1968 batch.

 

C. D. Sahay (2003-2005)

Sahay was appointed as the 15th Chief of RAW.  He spent the majority of his career serving in various capacities within RAW, all of which culminated in his appointment as Chief.  Sahay is the first RAW Chief to have undergone intelligence training in Israel.

 

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Comments

manikandan 1 week ago
Bishal Jha in Bangalore destroying India with lots of power. I have so many secret information to share. Please contact me.
Dr Neamul Bashir 3 weeks ago
DEAR SIR, COULD YOU PLEASE SEND ME YOUR CHIEF';S EMAIL ADDRESS TO SEND FEW CONFIDENTIAL MESSAGE? IT'S REALLY URGENT.RGDS,DR.NEAMUL BASHIR,POLITICAL SECRETARY OF DR.COL.OLI AHMAD,PRESIDENT,LDP BANGLADESH
------- 4 weeks ago
Nation first. JAI HIND.
arun kumar 1 month ago
i think RAW is a waste of time there is no change in this country in intelligence, i hope your not protecting people from territory issues your just collect your monthly salary from RAW, you never respect your country people you just protect your senior officers, every country giving a threat to us china, sriLankan, Pakistan. India is treasure but we loosing our treasure we never develop our country were here to sell our country to other country........ jai hind am arun from tamil nadu in Chennai -600073
Sagar 2 months ago
hello sir/madam im from karnatak.i want to join indian RAW service.how can i possiblly join the service.please guid me.Thank you Regards
BLACK 3 months ago
If my country will ever need me then I will be there as her daughter. I will visit here soon. One more thing I would prefer to remain BLACK. "SAARE JAHAN SE ACHA HINDUSTAN HAMARA"
Farhat Ullah khan 3 months ago
Indian agency raw is a terrorist agency he always support terrorist groups in pakistan and afghanistan kashmir baga ga pakistan
Farhat Ullah khan 3 months ago
isi is the most powerful agency he always beat raw agents i love isi proud of pakistan
chandan 3 months ago
I want to join raw from hacker grade to serve nation. I AM FROM UTTARAKAND MY GRANDFATHER WAS IN ARMY I AM LIVING NOW IN DELHI PLEASE INFORM ME IF NATION WANT ME. Jai Hind Jai Bharat
Akhil 3 months ago
How can I join RAW, India ?

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