RAW Declassified: Article, Short Notes, Essay [Indian Intelligence Agency]
The knowledge an average Indian has about RAW comes from their entertaining Bollywood films like Ek tha Tiger, D-Day, Madras Café etc. But other than knowing that it is India’s intelligence agency and the existence of buff agents (portrayed by Salman Khan and John Abraham) who work undercover, what is it that we know about the organisation?
RAW stands for Research and Analysis Wing, which is the primary foreign intelligence agency of India. It was formed in 1968 following the intelligence failure of the Sino-Indian war and Indo-Pak war, which led the Indian Government to create an independent agency dedicated to intelligence gathering. While previously all domestic and international intelligence collection was under purview of the Intelligence Bureau, now all foreign intelligence data collection would be under the jurisdiction of RAW. The organisation structure of RAW is somewhat similar to that of the CIA in USA.
Primary functions and roles
The primary job of RAW comprises of countering terrorism in the country. Most of their missions is done keeping in mind this. In addition to this, the agency is responsible for providing security to India’s nuclear program. The RAW forms a part of an impressive line-up of specialist agencies comprising the likes of CID, CIA, ATS and IB. So what are the differences between them one must wonder? For starters, the CID works on the state level while the other agencies including the RAW work on the national level. CID and CBI are given the task of investigating high profile cases including murder cases, ATS is virtually an extension of the police force and has been established in various states of the country to tackle the issue of terrorism. IB is the internal equivalent of RAW, like RAW it is concerned with the analysis of information.
Given the nature and the magnitude of work that the agency is supposed to undertake, only a select few are capable of taking up the mantle. The agents of the RAW are comprised of people working in the intelligence bureau, Indian police services and the Indian military. They undergo special and rigorous training not only in India, but around the world. The agents are trained in various fields, including space technology and information security.
RAW had been instrumental in a variety of missions of critical importance to the nation, including its contribution in the 1984 Siachen mission. It also played a central role in the addition of Sikkim as the 22nd state of India. The agency has seen its share of ups and downs, while on the one hand it is one of the premier agencies of India and has contributed by providing the country whenever called for, the agency has been in the news for its involvements in some controversial tasks as well. RAW provided support to the Kanchi rebels in Myanmar who were fighting against the pro-China government of the country. The agents had to backtrack though and join the hands of the Indian army to eradicate their trained reels, when the rebels started supplying ammunition and weapons to the terrorist outfits in the country.
The RAW along with the other agencies in the country have been working day in and day out, for maintaining peace in the country. They have been working and will continue to work under the noses of the common citizens in the hopes that the “Aam Aadmi” lives a peaceful life. The job may not always include the kind of glamour shown in the movies or the extreme shootouts that seem to breakout every third minute, but the agents are no less than heroes themselves and what they do for the country is blockbuster in every sense of the word.