Last time we had an amazing response to Top 10 Amazing RAW Operations and that’s the reason we decided to do another segment on Interesting Facts on RAW (India’s external intelligence agency). Here are 19 Interesting Facts About RAW. These facts have been compiled by from various sources that are available on the Internet and other print media and their accuracy is questionable.
Indian RAW or Research and Analysis Wing of the Government of India is the most secretive intelligence department of our country. From its establishment after the wars of 1962 and 1965, the agency has worked as an Intelligence bureau for foreign and domestic matters and counter terrorism.
10ELINT operations in Nanda Devi, Himalayas
After China tested its first nuclear weapons on October 16, 1964, at Lop Nur, Xinjiang, India and the USA shared a common fear about the nuclear capabilities of China. Owing to the extreme remoteness of Chinese testing grounds and strict secrecy surrounding the Chinese nuclear programme, it was almost impossible to carry out any human intelligence operation. So, the CIA in the late 1960s decided to launch an ELINT operation along with RAW and ARC (Aviation Research Centre) to track China’s nuclear tests and monitor its missile launches. The joint operation of CIA and RAW, in the garb of a mountaineering expedition to Nanda Devi involved celebrated Indian climber M S Kohli who along with operatives of Special Frontier Force and the CIA, most notably Jim Rhyne, a veteran STOL pilot was to place a permanent ELINT device (electronic intelligence device), a transceiver powered by a plutonium battery, that could detect and report data on future nuclear tests carried out by China.
The monitoring device was near successfully implanted on Nanda Devi, when an avalanche forced a hasty withdrawal. Later, a subsequent mountaineering operation to retrieve or replant the device was aborted when it was found that the device was lost. Recent reports indicate that radiation traces from this device have been discovered in sediment below the mountain. However, the actual data is not conclusive.
Operation Meghdoot: In 1984, RAW received information from the London company, which had supplied Arctic-weather gear for Indian troops from Northern Ladakh region and some paramilitary forces that Pakistan too had bought similar Arctic-weather gear. This information was shared with Indian Army, which soon launched Operation Meghdoot to take control of Siachen Glacier with around 300 acclimatized troops were airlifted to Siachen Glacier before Pakistan could launch any operation resulting in Indian head start and eventual Indian domination of all major peaks in Siachen Glacier.
You can consider buying this amazing book On The Indian Army for knowing about more on Operation Meghdoot.
8Kanishka Bombing Case
On 23 June 1985 Air India’s Flight 182 was blown up near Ireland and 329 innocent lives were lost. On the same day, another explosion took place at Tokyo’s Narita airport’s transit baggage building where baggage was being transferred from Cathay Pacific Flight No CP 003 to Air India Flight 301, which was scheduled for Bangkok. Both aircraft were loaded with explosives from Canadian airports. Flight 301 got saved because of a delay in its departure. This was considered as a major setback to Indian RAW for failing to gather enough intelligence about the Khalistani terrorists because Indian RAW was the main agency assigned to tackle Khalistani terrorists’ movement.
7Operation Cactus | 1988 Maldives coup d’état
Here goes 7 Amazing facts on what happened that night in this Indian RAW’s secret operation.
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 Gayoom, the Indian Armed Forces, with assistance from Indian RAW, 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 Hulhule and restored the Government rule at Malé within hours. The operation, labeled Operation Cactus, also involved the Indian Navy. Swift operation by the military and precise intelligence by RAW quelled the insurgency.
5 Help to the Northern Alliance
After the rise of Pakistan and American backed Taliban in Afghanistan, India decided to side with the Northern Alliance (a resistance force against the Taliban government) and the Soviet Union. By 1996, Indian RAW had built a 25 bed military hospital at the Farkhor Air Base. This airport was used by the India’s Aviation Research Centre, the reconnaissance arm of RAW, to repair and operate the Northern Alliance’s aerial support. This relationship was further cemented in the 2001 Afgan war. India supplied the Northern Alliance high altitude warfare equipment worth around US$8–10 million.
RAW was the first intelligence agency to determine the extent of the Kunduz airlift.
6. Kargil War
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 a full-scale war. While the Army has been critical of the information they received, RAW has pointed the finger at the politicians, claiming they had provided all the necessary information. However, R&AW was successful in intercepting a telephonic conversation between Pervez Musharraf, the then Pakistan Army Chief who was in Beijing and his chief of staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz in Islamabad. This tape was later published by India to prove Pakistani involvement in the Kargil incursion.
4Monitoring Pakistani Telecommunication
Raw operatives boast that at one time its monitoring complex had managed to break through Pakistani Telecommunications and were listening in to all telephonic conversations held by important Pakistani leaders.
In 1982, Indira Gandhi was so keen to see Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (pictured above) continue as the Prime Minister of Mauritius that RAW was tasked to oversee his reelection campaign. Despite heavy investments, RAW failed by a wide margin.
2 Anti-Apartheid Movement
RAW trained the intelligence officers of many independent African countries and assisted the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa and Namibia. Retired RAW officers were deputed to work in training institutes of intelligence agencies of some African countries.
1 Operation Tactics
Many Indian embassies on foreign soils employ RAW spies to gather intelligence and carry out secret operations. Foreign Missions provide an ideal cover and RAW centers in a target country are generally located inside the Embassy premises. RAW operatives also find good covers in Multinational organizations. NGOs and Cultural programs are also popular screens to shield RAW activities. International media centers have also absorbed RAW operatives to provide freedom of movement.