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