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The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW or RAW) is the primary foreign intelligence agency of India. It was created after the Sino-Indian War 1962 and Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 which exposed gaps in intelligence gathering undertaken by the Intelligence Bureau (which until then handled both domestic and foreign intelligence). This convinced the Government of India that a specialised, independent agency was required for foreign intelligence gathering. Thus R&AW was formed in September 1968 under the guidance of its first Director, Rameshwar Nath Kao.
The primary function of R&AW is gathering foreign intelligence and counter-terrorism. In addition, it is responsible for obtaining and analysing information about foreign governments, corporations and persons to advise Indian policymakers. It is also involved in the security of India’s nuclear programme. Foreign analysts have often referred to R&AW as an effective organisation and one of the primary instruments of India’s national power and as one of the most fearsome intelligence agencies operating in the region.
Headquartered in New Delhi, R&AW’s current chief is Rajinder Khanna, a 1978-batch Indian Police Service officer of RAS cadre.
Prior to the inception of the Research and Analysis Wing, overseas intelligence collection was primarily the responsibility of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which was created by the British. In 1933, sensing the political turmoil in the world which eventually led to the Second World War, the Intelligence Bureau’s responsibilities were increased to include the collection of intelligence along India’s borders.
In 1947, after independence, Sanjeevi Pillai took over as the first Indian Director of the IB. Having been depleted of trained manpower by the exit of the British, Pillai tried to run the bureau on MI5 lines. In 1949, Pillai organised a small foreign intelligence operation, but the Indian debacle in the Sino-Indian war of 1962 showed it to be ineffective. Foreign intelligence failure during the 1962 Sino-Indian War led then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to order a dedicated foreign intelligence agency to be established. After the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, Indian Chief of Army Staff General Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri also called for more intelligence-gathering. Around the end of 1966 the concept of a separate foreign intelligence agency began to take concrete shape.
The Indira Gandhi administration decided that a full-fledged second security service was needed. R. N. Kao, then a deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau, submitted a blueprint for the new agency. Kao was appointed as the chief of India’s first foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. The R&AW was given the responsibility for strategic external intelligence, human as well as technical, plus concurrent responsibility with the Directorate-General of Military Intelligence for tactical trans-border military intelligence up to a certain depth across the Line of control (LOC) and the international border.
The framework of Indian intelligence
R&AW started as a wing of the main Intelligence Bureau with 250 employees and an annual budget of 20 million (US$297,200.00). In the early seventies, its annual budget had risen to 300 million (US$4.5 million) while its personnel numbered several thousand. In 1971, Kao had persuaded the Government to set up the Aviation Research Centre (ARC). The ARC’s job was aerial reconnaissance. It replaced the Indian Air Force’s old reconnaissance aircraft and by the mid-1970s, R&AW, through the ARC, had high quality aerial pictures of the installations along the Chinese and Pakistani borders. Presently, the budget of R&AW is speculated to be as high as US$450 million to as low as US$100 million.
Slowly other child agencies such as The Radio Research Center and Electronics & Tech. Services were added to R&AW in the 1970s and 1990s. In the 1970s the Special Frontier Force moved to R&AW’s control, working to train Bengali rebels. 262 In 2004 Government of India added yet another signal intelligence agency called the National Technical Facilities Organisation (NTFO), which was later renamed as National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). It is believed to be functioning under titular control of R&AW, although it remains autonomous to some degree. While the exact nature of the operations conducted by NTRO is classified, it is believed that it deals with research on imagery and communications using various platforms.
The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), under the Cabinet Secretariat, is responsible for coordinating and analysing intelligence activities between R&AW, the Intelligence Bureau and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). In practice, however, the effectiveness of the JIC has been varied. With the establishment of the National Security Council in 1999, the role of the JIC has been merged with the NSC. R&AW’s legal status is unusual, in that it is not an “Agency”, but a “Wing” of the Cabinet Secretariat. Hence, R&AW is not answerable to the Parliament of India on any issue, which keeps it out of reach of the Right to Information Act. This exemption was granted through Section 24 read with Schedule II of the act. However, information regarding the allegations of corruption and human rights violations has to be disclosed.
Courtesy : Wikipedia