Research and Analysis Wing (RAW or R&AW) is the primary external intelligence agency of the Republic of India. It was formed in September 1968 under the helmsman-ship of its first Director, Rameshwar Nath Kao. Its creation was necessitated post the Sino-Indian War 1962 and Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 which posed various gaps in intelligence gathering undertaken by Intelligence Bureau. This convinced the Government of India that a specialised, independent agency was required for competent external intelligence gathering.
The primary function of R&AW is collection of external intelligence and counter-terrorism. In addition, it is responsible for obtaining and analysing information about foreign governments, corporations and persons to advise Indian policymakers. R&AW is an effective and one of the primary instrument of India’s national power. It is also involved in the security of India’s nuclear programme.
Headquartered in New Delhi, R&AW’s current chief is Alok Joshi a 1976-batch IPS officer of Haryana cadre.
India has a number of intelligence agencies of which the best known are the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency and the Intelligence Bureau are the domestic intelligence agency.
The objectives of RAW include:
- To monitor the political and military developments in adjoining countries, which have direct bearing on India’s national security and in the formulation of its foreign policy.
- To seek the control and limitation of the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, mostly from European countries, the USA and China.
The head of R&AW is designated “Secretary (Research)” in the Cabinet Secretariat. The “Secretary (Research)”, although is under direct command of Prime Minister, reports on an administrative basis to the Cabinet Secretary, who reports to the Prime Minister. However, on a daily basis the “Secretary (Research)” reports to the National Security Advisor. Reporting to the Secretary (Research) are: Two Special Secretaries and one Special Director of the (ARC), the Aviation Research Centre; Four Additional Secretaries, responsible for different geographical regions
The primary mission of R&AW includes aggressive intelligence collection via espionage, psychological warfare, subversion, sabotage and assassinations. R&AW maintains active collaboration with other secret services in various countries. Its contacts with FSB of Russia, NDS, the Afghan agency, Israel’s Mossad, the CIA and MI6 have been well-known, a common interest being Pakistan’s nuclear programme. R&AW has been active in obtaining information and operating through third countries like Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Singapore.
A combination of military, academicians, bureaucrats and policemen was a fine start for RAW which modelled itself on the lines of CIA. Though the RAW is primarily intended for collecting intelligence beyond India’s national borders, it has over time come to have a strong presence in all fields of intelligence gathering.