RAW, head­ing for de­cay

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Sa­j­jad Shaukat Email: saj­jad_­logic@ya­hoo.com

IN­DIAN in­tel­li­gence agency, Re search and Anal­y­sis Wing (RAW) was cre­ated in 1968 to wage con­tin­u­ous se­cret bat­tles against the re­gional coun­tries. 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 to poke its nose in in­ter­nal af­fairs of In­dia’s neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, yet it has been faced with em­bar­rass­ing fi­as­cos and na­tional se­cu­rity fail­ures, es­pe­cially due to the de­fec­tions from within its ranks and ow­ing to the un­ex­plain­able de­spair, haunt­ing its se­nior of­fi­cials.

On April 17, 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 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, RAW is also plagued by other prob­lems iden­ti­fied as over bu­reau­cra­ti­za­tion of the sys­tem with al­le­ga­tions about favouritism 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).

Ya­dav con­fessed that he was as­signed with the task to cre­ate un­rest in Karachi and Balol­chi­tan to desta­bi­lize Pak­istan and to tar­get the Gwadar Port. Nev­er­the­less, RAW has been ex­ploit­ing sub-na­tion­al­ists, mass mur­der of in­no­cent civil­ians like Hazaras, Balochis, ex­trem­ist 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 has been pro­mot­ing ex­trem­ist ter­ror­ist 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.

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 ex­trem­ist out­fits like RSS, BJP, Ba­jrang Dal, VHP etc. Nonethe­less, it is ow­ing to these rea­sons that In­dian RAW is rapidly head­ing to­wards de­cay. — The writer is free­lance columnist based in La­hore.

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