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Research and Analysis Wing [RAW]

The Cabinet Secretariat Research and Analysis Wing [RAW], India's most powerful intelligence agency, is India's external intelligence agency. RAW has become an effective instrument of India's national power, and has assumed a significant role in formulating India's domestic and foreign policies. RAW has engaged in disinformation campaigns, espionage and sabotage against Pakistan and other neighboring countries. RAW has enjoyed the backing of successive Indian governments in these efforts. Working directly under the Prime Minister, the structure, rank, pay and perks of the Research & Analysis Wing are kept secret from Parliament.

Current policy debates in India have generally failed to focus on the relative priority given by RAW to activities directed against India's neighbors versus attention to domestic affairs to safeguard India's security and territorial integrity. The RAW has had limited success in dealing with separatist movements in Manipur and Tripura in the northeast, Tamil Nadu in the south, and Punjab and Kashmir in the northwestern part of the country. Indian sources allege the CIA has penetrated freedom fighters in Kashmir and started activities in Kerala, Karnataka, and other places, along with conducting economic and industrial espionage activities in New Delhi.

In 1968 India established this special branch of its intelligence service specifically targeted on Pakistan. The formation of RAW was based on the belief that Pakistan was supplying weapons to Sikh terrorists, and providing shelter and training to the guerrillas in Pakistan. Pakistan has accused the Research and Analysis Wing of sponsoring sabotage in Punjab, where RAW is alleged to have supported the Seraiki movement, providing financial support to promote its activities in Pakistan and organizing an International Seraiki Conference in Delhi in November-December 1993. RAW has an extensive network of agents and anti-government elements within Pakistan, including dissident elements from various sectarian and ethnic groups of Sindh and Punjab. Published reports allege that as many as 35,000 RAW agents have entered Pakistan between 1983-93, with 12,000 are working in Sindh, 10000 in Punjab 8000 in North West Frontier Province and 5000 in Balochistan. As many as 40 terrorist training camps at Rajasthan, East Punjab, Held Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of India are run by the RAW's Special Service Bureau (SSB).

Throughout the Afghan War RAW was responsible for the planning and execution of terrorist activities in Pakistan to deter Pakistan from support of Afghan liberation movement against India's ally, the Soviet Union. The assistance provided to RAW by the KGB enabled RAW to arrange terrorist attacks in Pakistani cities throughout the Afghan War. The defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan did not end the role of RAW in Pakistan, with reports that suggest that India has established a training camp in the town of Qadian, in East Punjab, where non-Muslim Pakistanis are trained for terrorist activities. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has blamed India for funding the current upsurge of terrorism in Pakistan, and senior ministers have blamed the Research and Analysis Wing for the sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis which has resulted in thousands of deaths every year.

The Government of Pakistan frequently assigns responsibility for terrorist activity to the Indian Government, even when no evidence can be verified. It is evidently in the interest of the Pakistani government to blame terrorist actions on external rather than internal sources, just as it would be in the interest of Indian services to obscure their hand in such actions. Terrorist activities in Pakistan attributed to the clandestine activities of Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies include:

  • A car bomb explosion in Saddar area of Peshawar on 21 December 1995 caused the deaths of 37 persons and injured over 50 others.
  • An explosion at Shaukat Khanum Hospital on 14 April 1996, claimed the lives of seven persons and injured to over 34 others.
  • A bus traveling from Lahore to Sahiwal was blown up at Bhai Pheru on 28 April 1996, causing the deaths of 44 persons on the spot and injuring 30 others.
  • An explosion in a bus near the Sheikhupura hospital killed 9 persons and injured 29 others on 08 May 1996.
  • An explosion near Alam chowk, Gujranwala on 10 June 1996 killed 3 persons and injured 11 others.
  • A bomb exploded on a bus on GT Road near Kharian on 10 June 1996, killing 2 persons and injuring 10 others.
  • On 27 June 1996, an explosion opposite Madrassah Faizul Islam, Faizabad, Rawalpindi, killed 5 persons and injured over 50 others.
  • A bomb explosion in the Faisalabad railway station passenger lounge on 08 July 1996 killed 3 persons and injured 20 others.

RAW has responded to Pakistani arms and training for Muslim militants in the disputed region of Kashmir state. RAW allegedly executed a hijacking of an Indian Airliner to Lahore in 1971 which was attributed to the Kashmiris, to give a terrorist dimension to the Kashmiri national movement. However soon the extent of RAW's involvement was made public.

RAW has a long history of activity in Bangladesh, supporting both secular forces and the area's Hindu minority. The involvement of RAW in East Pakistan is said to date from the 1960s, when RAW promoted dissatisfaction against Pakistan in East Pakistan, including funding Mujibur Rahmanh's general election in 1970 and providing training and arming the Mukti Bahini.

During the course of its investigation the Jain Commission received testimony on the official Indian support to the various Sri Lankan Tamil armed groups in Tamil Nadu. From 1981, RAW and the Intelligence Bureau established a network of as many as 30 training bases for these groups in India. Centers were also established at the high-security military installation of Chakrata, near Dehra Dun, and in the Ramakrishna Puram area of New Delhi. This clandestine support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), some of whom were on the payroll of RAW, was later suspended. Starting in late 1986 the Research and Analysis Wing focused surveillance on the LTTE which was expanding ties with Tamil Nadu separatist groups. Rajiv Gandhi sought to establish good relations with the LTTE, even after the Indian Peace Keeping Force [IPKF] experience in Sri Lanka. But the Indian intelligence community failed to accurately assess the character of the LTTE and its orientation India and its political leaders. The LTTE assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was apparently motivated by fears of a possible re-induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and a crackdown on the LTTE network in Tamil Nadu.

The RAW and the Ministry of External Affairs are provided Rs 25 crore annually as "discretionary grants" for foreign influence operations. These funds have supported organisations fighting Sikh and Kashmiri separatists in the UK, Canada and the US. An extensive network of Indian operatives is controlled by the Indian Embassy in Washington DC. The Indian embassy's covert activities are reported to include the infitration of US long distance telephone carriers by Indian operatives, with access to all kinds of information, to r blackmail relatives of US residents living in India. In 1996 an Indian diplomat was implicated in a scandal over illegal funding of political candidates in the US. Under US law foreign nationals are prohibited from contributing to federal elections. The US District Court in Baltimore sentenced Lalit H Gadhia, a naturalised US citizen of Indian origin, to three months imprisonment. Gadhia had confessed that he worked as a conduit between the Indian Embassy and various Indian-American organisations for funnelling campaign contributions to influence US lawmakers. Over $46,000 from the Indian Embassy was distributed among 20 Congressional candidates. The source of the cash used by Gadhia was Devendra Singh, a RAW official assigned to the Indian Embassy in Washington. Illicit campaign money received in 1995 went to Democratic candidates including Sens. Charles S. Robb (D-Va.), Paul S. Sarbanes (D -Md.) and Reps. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

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