RAW and Its Top 13 Interesting Facts- 13angle.com

RAW: A Secret Agency

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RAW- 13angle.com
  • Raw stands for the Research and Analysis Wing. RAW is India’s premier foreign intelligence agency. Since its inception, RAW is credited with providing supports to various significant operations on foreign soil. The primary aim of RAW is to keep eyes on neighbor’s especially China and Pakistan, counter-terrorism, advise Indian policymakers, & advance the security of India’s nuclear program.

  • RAW is known as a secret agent because all the information about it is not publicly open. RAW is not an “Agency”, but it is a “Wing” of Cabinet Secretariat. Hence, RAW is not answerable to the Parliament of India on any issues, 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. Accordingly, it is hard to find detailed information about the organization.

  • RAW personnel is called “Research Officers” instead of traditional “agents.”

Genesis Of RAW

  • Prior to the initiation of RAW, foreign intelligence, internal intelligence all were responsibilities fall under the Intelligence Bureau (IB). IB was not sufficient to handle both missions & this was revealed after India’s debacle in the Sino-Indian war in the year 1962. After that it was noticed that we were lacking foreign intelligence. During the conflict, “Our intelligence failed to detect Chinese build-up for the attack”, writes Major General VK Singh, a retired army officer who did work in RAW, in his 2007 book, India’s External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing. To overcome this a fully dedicated team on foreign intelligence was needed. As a result, India established an external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the year 1968. Then, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed R.N. Kao as the first director of RAW. At the time of inception, it had only 250 employees and a budget of $405,600.


The main objectives of RAW are:-

  • Monitoring the political, military, scientific, and economic progress in adjoining countries that can be threat to national security.
  • It molds international public opinion along with influencing the foreign government.
  • To seek control and limitation of the supply of military hardware to Pakistan mostly from European countries, the USA and China.
  • RAW is responsible for the covert operations to keep India safe.
  • Anti-terror operations and neutralizing elements pose a threat to India.
  • RAW work is also collecting foreign intelligence.
  • To advise the Indian decision-makers.


Motto- 13angle.com
  • RAW motto is ‘धर्मो रक्षति रक्षित:’, which basically translates to he who does not observe the observe Dharma is destroyed, while he who follows it meticulously is protected. Dharma, in this context, stands for the nation.      

Organizational Setup

Organizational setup- 13angle.com
  • RAW is an organization that is not answerable to the Parliament of India. So, it is out of reach of the Right to Information (RTI). The organizational setup is as follows.

  •  The RAW is under the Prime minister of India. The head of the RAW is the designated secretary(R) in Cabinet Secretariat. The secretary reports to the Prime minister. Moreover, National Security Advisor is also regularly briefed by Secretary.                                           

  • The JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) is under Cabinet Secretariat, which is responsible for coordinating and analyzing intelligence activities between RAW, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) & the Intelligence Bureau (IB)

=> Reporting to the secretary(R) are:-

  • An Additional Secretary responsible for the office of special operations and intelligence collected from different countries processed by a large number of Joint Secretaries, who are the functional heads of various offices with different regional divisions/area/countries. Area one –Pakistan, Area two- China and Southeast Asia, Area thee- the Middle East and Africa; Area four- Other
  • The Directorate General of Security has two important sub-divisions- the Aviation Research Centre which operates under one Special Secretary and the Special Services Bureau operated by two Special Secretary.

Recruitment Process

Recruitment Process- 13angle.com
  • Since we that RAW officers have to work very secretly and also, they should be fit all aspects. Their mental ability, physiological state, and thought process should be good. Initially, RAW had primarily trained intelligence officers who were recruited directly. These belonged to the external wing of the Intelligence Bureau. Candidates are mostly recruited from the IPS and other civil services along with from the armed forces of India. In order to make transparency in the recruitment process, RAW had created its own recruitment staff known as, the Research and Analysis Service (RAS). The work of RAS is to absorb talented candidates from Group A Civil Services.

  • Direct recruitments of candidates are done for those candidates who are undergoing training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, at the end of their course RAW conducts its campus interview. Based on a selection of psychological tests and the interview, candidate, candidates are inducted into RAW. Also, recruitment is done from the Officer corps of the Armed Forces. The officers who are selected have to resign from their cadre and join the RAS. The code of conduct and recruitment processes are governed by the Research and Analysis Service (RAS) rules, 1975.

Positions Of Intelligence Officer In RAW

  1. Secretary (group A officers)
  2. Special Secretary (group A officers)
  3. Joint Secretary (group A officers)
  4. Deputy Secretary (group A officers)
  5. Senior field officer (group B/C officers)
  6. Field officer (group B/C officers)
  7. Deputy field officer (group B/C officers)
  8. Assistant field officer (group B/C officers)

Secretaries Of RAW

  • Since the inception of RAW had proven its supremacy & excellence in foreign intelligence. RAW is headed by Secretary who is designated as the Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat.

S.N Name Took office Left office Notes
1 R.N. Kao 1968 1977 Founder of RAW. Bangladesh liberation war. Operation Smiling Buddha
2 K. Sankaran Nair 1977 1977 Resigned from service
3 N.F.Suntook 1977 1983 Founder of RRC. Executed operation Lal Dora
4 Girish Chandra 1983 1986 Operation Bluestar Kanishka bombing
5 S. E. Joshi 1986 1987 During his tenure the post of Director in RAW was redesignated as Secretary(R).
6 A.K. Verma 1987 1990 Operation Cactus
7 G.S. Bajpai 1990 1991 Counter insurgency operation
8 N. Narasimhan 1991 1993  
9 J.S. Bedi 1993 1993 Chief during 1993 Mumbai blast
10 A.S. Syali 1993 1996 Emphasis on advance training
11 Ranjan Roy 1996 1997 Negotiation on Farkhor Air Base
12 Arvind Dave 1997 1999 Kargil war
13 A.S. Dulat 1999 2000 Negotiated with IC 814 hijackers
14 Vikram Sood 13 Dec 2000 31 March 2003 Founder of National Technical Facilities Organization
15 C.D. Sahay 1 Apr 2003 31 Jan 2005 Inauguration of RAW headquarters at Lodhi road, New Delhi
16 P.K.H Tharakan 1 Feb 2005 31 Jan 2007 Was instrumental in setting up of Nuclear Command Authority (India)
17 Ashok Chaturvedi 1 Feb 2007 31 Jan 2009 Tenure marred due to allegations of nepotism & corruption
18 K.C. Verma 1 Feb 2009 30 Dec 2010 Investigation of 2008 Mumbai attack
19 Sanjeev Tripathi 30 Dec 2010 29 Dec 2012  
20 Alok Joshi 30 Dec 2012 30 Dec 2014  
21 Rajinder Khanna 31 Dec 2014 31 Dec 2016 2015 Indian counter insurgency operation in Myanmar 2016 Indian LOC strike
22 Anil Dhasmana 1 Jan 2017 29 Jun 2019 1. Operation Sunrise 2. 2019 Balakot airstrike
23 Samant Goel 1 July 2019 till Abrogation of article 370 and 35 A

Major Operations

  • The operations of RAW converted even sometimes the operations done but they are not publicly open. This is like “If it’s most successful then we won’t know.”

  • There are many operations that have been successfully led by RAW, but we won’t really get information to read about it. They operate in the shadows to make sure we are safe from the forces against us. If it is not a matter of internal security then surely RAW has truly epics tales to tell. There are some operations carried out by the RAW in the past, and they are nothing short of extraordinary. These include Operation cactus, Operation Meghdoot, Operation leech, Anti-Apartheid movements, snatch operations with Intelligence Bureau.

1. Operation Smiling Buddha :-

Operation Smiling Buddha- 13angle.com
  • Smiling Buddha was the name of India’s first nuclear program. India nuclear test was the done under the tenure of Iron lady of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi (served as the Prime Minister of India from the year 1966 to year 1977 and again from year 1980 to 1984 till her assassination).  RAW was given the task of keeping the entire operation under the wraps. This was also the very first-time that RAW had been asked to get involve in the operation within India because this organization had been created for collecting the foreign intelligence.
Nuclear bomb successful launching- 13angle.com
Nuclear bomb successful launching
  •  On 18 May 1974, India successfully tested the 15-kiloton plutonium device at Pokhran and became a member of an elite group of nations that have nuclear warheads. The operation was done so much secretly that even the foreign intelligence agencies of America, China, Britain, Russia didn’t get information about the mission.

2. Operation Kahuta: -

File photo of Khan Research Lab- 13angle.com
File photo of Khan Research Lab
  • As Pakistan had a rivalry against India and after India’s Pokhran test in 1974, an arms race was triggered between India and Pakistan. Being very wary of India’s fledgling nuclear capabilities, Pakistan sought any help needed to build nuclear weapons for itself. Pakistan with help of some nations was trying to build a nuclear setup. Pakistan’s major nuclear weapons laboratory, the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) was part of the emerging center for long-range missile development. KRL was located in a town called Kahuta.

RAW officers disguised themselves as agent- 13angle.com
RAW officers disguised themselves as agent
  • RAW got information about the mission but was sure that whether they were working for nuclear weapons or something else. RAW started operation Kahuta in the year 1977 to confirm and infiltrate Pakistan’s nuclear program. RAW had made a plan to sure about this. The RAW officers disguised themselves as barber and collected the hair samples of scientists working in the Kahuta and by analyzing them they became sure about the nuclear program of Pakistan. As the hair samples that were tested were found to have uranium traces.
Shri Morarji Desai
  • At that, the Prime Minister of India was Shri Morarji Desai. During his regime, there was great distrust between politicians and the IB, RAW.
  • One of the first actions he took was to eviscerate RAW’s budget by as much as 30% to 40%. Not moreover, in an informal conversation with Zia-ul-Haq, Morarji Desai revealed details of the RAW network in Pakistan & also confirmed that India was aware of happening at Kahuta. But to these conceivable lines, Pakistan hunted the brave men across its land, killing many of them brutally. The entire network was neutralized, and its setback our Pakistan-specific intelligence by at least a decade.

  • Imagine – the great work of RAW getting to know about a country’s nuclear secrets, by going to a barbershop!!

3. Operation Meghdoot

Siachen Glacier
  • The main objective of the formation of RAW is to collect information about foreign intelligence & utilize that insecurity of India.
  •  In the year 1983, Pakistan decided to capture the major peaks of the Siachen Glacier. With a plan to send troops at peaks, Pakistani Army had ordered 150 arctic gears for its troops from Landon based supplier. But RAW agents got information about these and to give smashing answer to Pakistan Army, India ordered 300 glacier gears in advance while preventing ISI getting a clue of it. RAW also ensures that Pakistan didn’t get the glacier gears on time. This is how India seized the heights with help of RAW work.

4. Khalistan Movement

  • The mid-80s was a dark period in India. Khalistan Movement is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs by establishing a sovereign state, called Khalistan (‘Land of the Khalsa’), in the Punjab region.

  • Backed by ISI, the Khalistani militancy was reaching its peak. RAW was given an order to settle down the whole matter. RAW set up two covert task forces to counter the militants in Punjab. Counter Intelligence Team-X or CIT-X, and Counter-Intelligence Team-J or CIT-J. The objective of CIT-X was to target Pakistan while CIT-J was supposed to target the Khalistani groups. RAW not only managed to flush out all Khalistani militants from the Punjab side but also make sure that ISI to retreat and end all activities.

5. Operation Chanakya

  • As we know that Pakistan is always trying to create obstructions in the Kashmir valley. Operation Chanakya was the name of the mission which RAW commenced to infiltrate various ISI-backed separatist groups & restore the peace in the Kashmir valley.

  •  RAW agents became part of the groups there they collected information, and also took evidence about ISI’s involvement in training and funding Kashmiri separatist groups,

  • RAW is also credited for creating a spilt in the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Due to this operation groups like Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen, Muslim Mujahideen, etc. Due to these groups’ formation, there had conflicts between pre-existing groups, and most of the terrorists died in their conflicts.

Noteworthy RAW Agents

  • The work RAW agent is incredibly dangerous as you are constantly dealing with a risk of getting caught. They have to work in such a manner that even their family don’t know about their working profession. There are many great agents few of them are as:-

Mohanlal Bhasker:-

Mr. Mohanlal Bhaskar- 13angle.com
Mr. Mohanlal Bhaskar
  • He was an undercover cop of Indian Intelligence Agency RAW when he was arrested in counter-intelligence operation by Pakistan.
An Indian Spy in Pakistan.” book- 13angle.com
  • He had even converted his religion from Hindu to Muslim so that none can suspect him during his mission in Pakistan. But he was betrayed by one of his comrade’s named Amrik Singh, who was working for both Indian and Pakistan’s foreign intelligence agencies due to which Pakistan’s army got information about him.
  • He remained in Pakistani jail from 1967 to 1974. After about 14 years he had been released from jail. He had written a book named “An Indian Spy in Pakistan.”

Ravindra Kaushik:-

Ravindra Kaushik- 13angle.com
  • He is known as “The Black Tiger” was the RAW agent who operated in Pakistan for many years. He was 21 years old when he caught the attention of RAW. He was then well trained by RAW and could speak Punjabi and Urdu frequently.
  • He had also learned and read Islamic literature, and Pakistan geography. In the year 1975 at age of 23 he was sent to Pakistan and he their enrolled himself in Karachi University to study the law. He after graduation joined the Pakistan Army and rosed to the rank of Major. He even married with local girl there and also had a son from her. He continues to pass important information for years. He was caught by no fault of him but because of another spy of RAW who revealed his information to Pakistan Army. He was sentenced for lifetime jail but due to heart related diseases this true son of Motherland India died only at age of 47. His life was “service to nation before self.”

R.N. Kao:-

  • The full name of R. N. Kao was Rameshwar Nath Kao. He was India’s spymaster. He was a Kashmiri pandit who immigrated from Srinagar to Varanasi in U.P.
R.N. Kao- 13angle.com
  • He was an IPS officer from the U.P cadre. On the eve of Independence Day, he was deputed to the newly formed Intelligence Bureau. When Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was appointed as the Prime Minister of India, he was given charge of protecting him. When India realized the need for separate foreign intelligence after the debacle in the 1962 war & RAW was established. R. N. Kao is also known as the founder of RAW. The RAW team at that was known as Kaoboys.

  • He had a major role in the liberation of Bangladesh and also, he was the man behind the relationship between RAW and Mossad (it is the foreign intelligence agency of Israel).

  • Kao left RAW after Prime Minister Morarji Desai leaked information about Operation Kahuta to the PM of Pakistan which eventually led resulted in their death.

Ajit Doval:-

  • Ajit Doval, a name that would be familiar to every child of India and Pakistan, would be called a heroic commander of India. He is IPS from Kerala Cadre who served for about 7 years in Pakistan without being caught by anyone, he collected crucial information’s regarding the terrorist groups and ISI missions.

Ajit Doval- 13angle.com
  • He disguised himself as a Muslim. He successfully led his operations & came back to India. The Indian government carried out Operation Black Thunder. The operation took place in the late 1980s to flush out pro-Khalistan militants from the ‘Golden Temple’, this operation was headed by Ajit Doval.
  • Surgical strike on 29 September 2016 against Pakistani terrorist groups in response to Uri attack is his master stoke that without a single causalities India destroyed the launching pads & a large number of militants were killed by airstrikes. The Indian cinema has beautifully depicted the whole thing in the movie Uri: the surgical strike.
Uri-the surgical strike- 13angle.com
  • Ajit Doval is also the recipient of India’s second-highest civil gallantry award, the Kriti Chakra, and is currently serving as National Security Advisor (NSA).

Top 13 Interesting Facts Regarding The RAW

  1. RAW was founded in the year 1968 after the debacle of India in the 1962 Indo-China war. The analysis on the reasons for the defeat gave the need for a separate foreign agency. Thus, RAW came into existence.

  2. The RAW is not an “Agency”, but it is the “Wing” of the Cabinet secretariat. Hence, RAW is not answerable to the Parliament of India on any issues, which keeps it out of reach of Right to Information (RTI).

  3. RAW personnel is called “Research Officers” instead of traditional “Agents.”

  4. The founder of RAW, R.N. Kao who is known as India’s spymaster had resigned from RAW after the blunder committed by then Prime Minister Morarji Desai by leaking the details of RAW agents to the PM of Pakistan.

  5. RAW played a crucial role in the formation of Bangladesh. RAW supported the Mukti Bahini a Bangladeshi organization whose objective was to make a separate nation from East Pakistan.

  6. RAW gave tactical support, provided them training, helped in getting ammunition. And finally, Bangladesh was created.

  7. RAW agents disguised themselves as a barber to collect the hair samples of scientists working at Kahuta. By testing that RAW confirmed the nuclear project going on in Kahuta.

  8. RAW agent name Ravindra Kaushik was an Indian, who went to Pakistan. There he studied and after graduation, he joined the Pakistani Army and was continuously sending secret information to India. He was known as “The Black Tiger.”

  9. Mr. Ajit Dowal present NSA (National Security Advisor) is also a RAW agent. He is an IPS officer, he has been awarded Kirti Chakra, the second-highest gallantry award. He remained in Pakistan for about seven years and had collected very important evidence of connections of terrorist groups to ISI. Also, Ajit Doval is known as the mastermind of the Surgical Strike.

  10. RAW has played an important role in making the nuclear programs successful. RAW assured that the secrecy of the nuclear tests be maintained till the successful launching of the test happens.

  11. RAW also helped the armed forces by providing the inputs of Pakistan’s incursion in Siachen Glacier. By using foreign connections RAW ensured delay in delivery of glacier gear to Pakistan which resulted in the victory of India over Pakistan in Siachen.

  12. RAW undertook Operation Chanakya in which RAW agents infiltrated various separatist groups inside Kashmir. Their major success was in neutralizing the terrorist activities in the valley. It successfully collected evidence about the ISI’s involvement with separatist groups.

  13. During the Kargil war, RAW successfully trapped the telephonic conversion between Pakistan army chief General Pervez Musharraf, he was in Beijing and his chief of staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz in Islamabad. This conversion helped the armed forces to get a clue of Pakistan’s incursion in Kargil.

Rajesh Tiwari- 13angle intern

Rajesh Tiwari



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