RAW Full Form is Research and Analysis Wing. RAW is an Indian Intelligence agency created in 1968. The primary objective of RAW was to counter the influence of China which eventually shifted focus on Pakistan. Ever since its inception, RAW has expanded its authority in the subcontinent. It is said to have increased India’s influence overseas to a great extent.
The policies and role of RAW has varied under various prime ministers. RAW is also said to have contributed to (1) The formation of Bangladesh, (2) India’s influence over Afghanistan, (3) Nuclear program of India and its security, (4) A successful African Liberation Movement during cold war, etc. Other objectives RAW include monitoring the military and political developments in the adjoining nations.
RAW Full Form – Additional Information
Anyone in India would be familiar with the Research & Analysis Wing which is basically the premier foreign intelligence organization of the country, dedicated primarily to gathering and analysis of foreign intelligence. The agency was founded in the year 1968.
The object behind the establishment of the agency was to prevent failures that emerged due to the Indo-Pak wars and Sino-India war, which highlighted many intelligence glitches and failures. The failures compelled the then government of India to come up with an advanced and independent agency that will effectively carry out the task of foreign intelligence collection and will prevent such tragedies, which could have been avoided.
The primary functions of the agency, as already mentioned in the above paragraph, are a collection of foreign intelligence, counter-terrorism, and promotion of counter-proliferation. Besides these, the agency is actively engaged in the nuclear program of the country and provides advice to policymakers of the country. RAW is one of the most acknowledged intelligence agencies of the country and is regarded as an instrumental one by many foreign jurisdictions. It is the face of the national power of India.
The agency is headquartered at the capital city of the country, New Delhi. As far as reporting of the agency is concerned, it is different from that of the United States of America and the United Kingdom. In India, the agency directly reports to the Prime Minister, not to the Ministry of Defense. The aforementioned paragraphs highlight only some of the introductory aspects of RAW and thus, there is a need to explore more about this organization, which define its existence and relevance in and outside India.
History behind the establishment of RAW
Before the foundation of the RAW, the responsibility of collecting foreign intelligence and analyzing it was upon the Intelligence Bureau (abbreviated as IB). However, eventually, the powers and extent of the scope of IB increased. Post-independence, the IB started showing problems in handling foreign intelligence as it was tasked with other responsibilities. This eventually led to the Indo-Pak and Sino-India debacles, which were primarily consequences of intelligence failures on the part of Indian agencies.
During the Indira Gandhi regime, a decision to establish an independent agency tasked with collection and analysis of foreign intelligence was reached. The agency commenced its operation as a part of the Intelligence Bureau, with about 250 employees. Eventually, the agency became independent and started coming up with child agencies like the Electronics & Tech Services and The Radio Research Center. In the year 2004, another agency came under the control of RAW, the National Technical Facilities Organization (abbreviated as NTFO). The name of this agency was later changed to National Technical Research Organization (NTRO). The exact character of the operations of NTRO is not clear.
The Joint Intelligence Committee (abbreviated as JIC) has been established with the purpose of coordinating activities between the Intelligence Bureau, the Defence Intelligence Agency (abbreviated as DIA), and the RAW. The effectiveness of the JIC is not certain and has received mixed reviews. Even the status of RAW is also unusual, as it is a Wing, not the Agency, of the Cabinet Secretariat. It is because of this reason, the RAW is not covered under the Right to Information Act, 2005 vide section 24, which is read with the Schedule II of the same Act. This has resulted in many controversies, as RAW is often accused of concealing information pertaining to human rights abuse and corruption, and whatnot.
Objectives of the RAW
The following are some of the objectives of the RAW:
- It is aimed at monitoring the military, political, economic, and scientific developments in many countries that are critical to the national security of the country.
- To help policymakers in the formulation of an effective, workable, and strong foreign policy.
- To organize secret missions for the purposes of collection of foreign intelligence.
- To conduct anti-terror operations.
The primary objective of RAW nevertheless remains to prevent the occurrence of any tragedy like that of indo-Pak and Sino-Indo wars, which exposed the weak side of India’s intelligence set up.
Recruitment in RAW
Earlier, RAW made direct recruitments into its organization. These persons came from the Intelligence Bureau, police, military, and the Indian Revenue Services (abbreviated as IRS). Eventually, RAW started recruiting from various universities. This exposed the growing nepotism, which compelled the organization to create a service cadre, known as the Research and Analysis Service (abbreviated as RAS), to recruit persons from Group A Civil Services from the Central Staffing Scheme. There is the direct recruitment of Civil services officers, who are undertaking foundation courseware in the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. When the course is finished, an interview follows. There is also recruitment by a deputation from Armed Forces or the Group A Civil Services.
Training in RAW
RAW is an important organization for national security and therefore, a rigorous training framework exists. The basic training commences with a ten days phase where the inductee would be introduced to the world of spying and intelligence and a special emphasis is made in doing away with fictional stereotypes that prevail about espionage and intelligence. This is followed by lessons on the classification of intelligence information, tradecraft techniques, economic analysis, information security, scientific information, space technology, and energy security.
The inductees are given lessons on foreign language and Geo-Strategic analysis. Along with these lessons, the inductees are given case studies on prominent international investigative agencies such as Mossad, MI6, CIA, etc. Basic classroom lessons are given at the Training and Language Institute that is situated in Gurgaon. After having finished basic training, the inductees are allotted a Field Intelligence Bureau (FIB).
The training would generally last for one-two years. During this period, the inductee is given lessons on secret missions and simulated cold, night drills, exfiltration, infiltration, interrogation, etc. Many other skills are taught that are essential for an RAW agent. At the Indian Military Academy situated in Dehradun, the inductees are given field training. The training framework is subject to many criticisms for being outmoded and police-centric.
Operations conducted by RAW
RAW is known for the conduct of some of the biggest operations in the country and abroad. Some of them have been listed below:
- Operation Smiling Buddha: It is the name that was given to the Nuclear program of India. It is the first operation where RAW was engaged within India.
- Operation Lal Dora: The name was given to the operation when the Prime Minister of Mauritius Anerood Jugnauth sought help from the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, on the eve of a coup by Berenger.
- Operation Cactus: In the year 1988, the invasion of Maldives by the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (abbreviated as PLOTE) occurred. On request by Muamoon Gayoom, the then President of Maldives, RAW was engaged for providing assistance.
- Kargil War: RAW was engaged during Kargil war and received a lot of criticisms. RAW failed to collect adequate intelligence that could have stalled the Kargil War. The operations greatly tarnished the image of the agency.