Tuesday, October 18, 2011

R.A.W.: An Instrument of Indian Imperialism

India's intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R.A.W.), created in 1968, has assumed a significant status in the formulation of the country's domestic and foreign policies, particularly the latter. Working directly under the prime minister, it has over the years become an effective instrument of India's national power. In consonance with Kautilya's precepts, R.A.W.'s espionage doctrine is based on the principle of waging a continuous series of battles of intrigues and secret wars. (Kautilya, or more popularly, Chânakya, was an ancient Indian political theorist.)

Since its creation, R.A.W. has been a vital, though unobtrusive, actor in the Indian policy-making apparatus. But it is the massive international dimensions of R.A.W. operations that merit a closer examination. To the credit of this organization, it has in a very short span of time mastered the art of spy warfare. Credit must go to Indira Gandhi who in the late 1970's gave it a changed and much more dynamic role. To suit her much publicized Indira Doctrine (India Doctrine), Gandhi specifically asked R.A.W. to create a powerful organ within the organization that could undertake covert operations in neighboring countries. It is this capability that makes R.A.W. a more fearsome agency than the superior K.G.B., C.I.A., M.I.6, B.N.D., or Mossad.

Its internal role is confined only to monitoring events that have a bearing on the external threat. R.A.W.'s boss works directly under the prime minister. An Additional secretary to the government of India, under the director of R.A.W., is responsible for the Office of Special Operations, intelligence collected from different countries, internal security (under the director general of security), the electronic/technical section, and general administration. The additional secretary as well as the director general of security is also under the director of R.A.W. The director of security has two important sections: the Aviation Research Center and the Special Services Bureau. The joint director has specified desks with different regional divisions/areas (countries): area one, Pakistan; area two, China and Southeast Asia; area three, the Middle East and Africa; and area four, other countries.

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