RAW, Heading Towards Decay

By Sajjad ShaukatResearch and Analysis Wing of India

Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) which was created in 1968 to wage continuous secret battles against the regional through its agents, assumed a significant status in formulation of Indian foreign policy.

While waging their secret wars, RAW’s agents have their presence in almost all regional countries, implementing various tactics of psychological warfare. In this context, M. K Dhar in his book, “Open Secrets, India’s Intelligence Unveiled” points out, “RAW’s operations against the regional countries are conducted with great professional skill and expertise, which include the establishment of a huge network inside the target countries. It has used propaganda, political dissent, ethnic divisions, economic backwardness and criminal elements to foment subversion and terrorism to weaken these states in consonance with Indian regional ambitions.” However, application of these nefarious designs varies from country to country. In this regard, dismemberment of Pakistan, interference of RAW in Sikkim, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibetan regions etc. might be cited as instance.

Although RAW has still been exploiting every sinister trick and tactics to poke its nose in internal affairs of India’s neighbouring countries, yet the agency has been faced with embarrassing fiascos and national security failures, especially the defections from within its ranks due to the unexplainable despair and despondency, haunting its senior officials.

On 17 April 2016, it was reported that three officers of RAW, “willingly fled” to a large Western country which has a history of accepting and facilitating such disappearances of Indian intelligence officers. All were posted on senior levels and had shifted their families to that Western country much before they themselves disappeared. Two of the officers were handling two South Asian countries, while the third was handling a large East Asian country. It is assumed that all three were working for the Western countries for long and in all likelihood have passed on vital information before disappearing.

This is not for the first time that officers working for the Indian spy agency have “willingly disappeared”. As per official records, since the creation of the agency in 1968, nine such like instances have been reported with the famous defection case of Rabinder Singh (Joint secretary in RAW) defecting to the United States in 2004. Most of the other agents had defected, while they were posted in Western Europe or North America.

Apart from defections, Indian intelligence agency RAW is also plagued by other problems identified as over bureaucratization of the system with allegations about favoritism in promotions, corruption, ego clashes, no financial accountability, inter-departmental rivalry etc. The agency also suffers from ethnic imbalances in the officer cadre. The agency officials have also developed strong tendency to manipulate their status for unlawful activities. A former chief Ashok Chaturvedi is accused of utilizing funds for personal/family leisure trips. Many officials have suffered seriously at the hands of senior officials on sexual harassment as well. On August 19, 2008 a female Director (Language), namely Ms. Bhatia who had served as head of RAW Training Institute in Gurgaon, tried to commit suicide in front of Prime Minister’s Office, alleging inaction and wrong findings of a sexual harassment complaint, filed against a joint secretary, who was on deputation to RAW. In order to conceal his crime, she was discharged from duty on the ground that she was mentally unfit.

Another factor attributing to the defections of the agency is low wages as compared to other departments of the Indian government. It has been reported that the salary and other benefits of intelligence officials are at par with the state police and clerks. Moreover, risk allowance in both the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and RAW has been reduced to 15 percent, whereas central agencies like Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) get at least 25 per cent risk allowance. Indian government under BJP has tried to appease the growing frustration in the ranks of RAW and IB officials by announcing a revision of their pay structure, however, the claim still need materialization.

It is also acknowledged by the Indian officials that domestic intelligence agency is facing a shortage of over 7,000 skilled professionals to generate and disseminate crucial intelligence input. According to government figures released in 2013, IB had only 18, 795 personnel against the sanctioned strength of 26,867 officers. External spy agency RAW has strength of around 9,000 officers, including field agents serving on deputation. The RAW cadre is shrinking by the day and in 2012 the agency was forced to seek the help of Department of Personnel & Training to tide over the manpower shortage.

As regards the sinister plots of RAW in targeting neighbouring countries—particularly Pakistan is of special focus, which has deepened the negative image of the Indian intelligence agency.

In this respect, the role of India in destabilizing Pakistan has become naked after the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav, on March 24, 2016. Yadav openly admitted that he was the serving agent of Indian secret agency RAW in Balochistan province, and during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).

Addressing a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheed, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa disclosed on March 29, 2016, “Kulbushan that Yadav was an active officer of the Indian Navy prior to his joining RAW. He also served as a scrap dealer and had a jewelry business in Chahbahar, Iran, after he joined RAW in 2013.

In a video, during the press conference, Yadav confessed that he spied for India. Yadav admitted that he was assigned with the task to create unrest in Karachi and Balolchitan to destabilise Pakistan and to target the Gwadar Port. Yadav also revealed that he was funding Baloch separatists along with other terrorists—he was captured, while heading Iran.

However, confession of Yadav fonfirmed nefarious activities of RAW which has been exploiting sub-nationalists, mass murder of innocent civilians like Hazaras, Balochis, extremists organizations etc. for spread of terrorism in Pakistan.

Besides, based in Afghanistan, RAW in connivance with the Afghan intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS), has been supporting subversive activities in Pakistan. In this connection, RAW-NDS nexus is “devils unison” to destabilize the region by promoting extremist terrorists organizations like Aghanistan-based Daesh or ISIS, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (God’s soldiers) etc. in weakening Pakistan, its province of Balochistan, Tibetan regions of China, and Sistan-Balochistan of Iran by supporting terrorism and promoting acrimonious sense of dissent and political volatility.

And, due to growing influence of a particular group of Indian Police Services (IPS) and Indian Army over RAW, this intelligence organization is rapidly turning into a “Hindu fascist” entity, promoting and supporting Hindu radicalization of Indian society in collaboration with the exrmist outfits like RSS, BJP, Bajrang Dal, VHP etc. In this respect, since the leader of the ruling party BJP Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of minorities, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, especially, assaults on Christians and Muslims including their places of worships and property by the fanatic Hindu mobs, ban on beef and cow slaughter, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum, creation of war-like situation with Pakistan etc. have verified this collaboration. In fact, in connivance with RAW, the Hindu fundamentalist outfits have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism).

It is mentionable that RAW has always adopted “an ostrich approach” and cared nothing about the boiling lava of uneasiness in the employees in the wake of myriad problems.

Nonetheless, it is owing to these reasons that Indian RAW is rapidly heading towards decay.

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