Three years after Alexander the Great aborted his invasion of South Asia east of the Indus around 321 BC,Hindu philosopher, economist and jurist named Chanakhya (also called Kautilya) wrote the “Arthashastra”. Written in Sanskrit it is the oldest treatise in the world on statecraft and issues of diplomacy, war and peace, intelligence, espionage, etc. Hindu rulers have applied its teachings for 2500 years. After Indian failures in the 1962 and 1965 wars, Research and Analytical (RAW) was established in 1968.
RAW assiduously follows the Kautilyan “espionage doctrine” of waging a continuous series of battles of intrigues and secret wars. The Arthashastra dictates that all means to win a war are appropriate, including spreading false propaganda and fabricated stories, assassination of enemy leaders, sowing discord in the country’s ideology and between various races and sects, using covert men and women as weapons of war in pursuit of military objectives, etc. Sounds familiar?
Pakistan is fertile ground for RAW’s machinations. In early 1970 RAW successfully sowed discord among the disgruntled population in (then) East Pakistan, using the Friday Nov 13, 1970 cyclone as a negative force-multiplier for the Dec 1970 elections. On Jan 30, 1971 RAW staged the hijacking of an Indian Airlines Fokker-27 (brought out of mothballs for one flight) to Lahore, one of the hijackers was confirmed later as a RAW agent. Blown up at Lahore airport, the “GANGA” pretext was used to stop all overflights between East and West Pakistan, having disastrous political and psychological consequences for united Pakistan. Analyzing hair samples gathered from barber shops near Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in Kahuta, RAW confirmed Pakistan’s ability to enrich uranium to weapons-grade quality. Morarji Desai’s telephonic boast to Gen Ziaul-Haq that India knew about Pakistan’s nuclear programme led to our Intelligence agencies quickly eliminating RAW’s sources near Kahuta.
Apprehended in Balochistan in March, 2016, RAW spy Lt. Comd. Kulbhushan Yadav was “handled” directly by the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Duval, RAW’s Chief and a Joint Secretary RAW. His being a serving Indian Naval officer was confirmed by his wife before she and her children were whisked away. This “state actor’s” mission was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), targeting Gwadar port and directing terror activities in Balochistan and Karachi. With his network busted, thirteen of his accomplices involved in RAW’s terrorism were swiftly arrested.
Some among the media seem vulnerable to RAW manipulation. During a meeting with the PM the minister participants (mainly Shahbaz Sharif) purportedly “berated the DG ISI about protecting jihadists causing Pakistan’s international isolation”. Incidentally, who initiated this falsehood and who were the real targets of the adverse propaganda? Somebody immature put personal interest over the national interest in trying to get two birds with one stone. The damage done it has since been denied by the govt as “fabricated”. Since the news, whether right or wrong, was leaked from a meeting pertaining to national security, those leaking the information should have their “security clearance” revoked and barred from public office. The government has no right to put anyone on ECL without proper investigation, the (Kautilyan?) intention was probably to fuel further controversy against the khakis.
Given the on-going Indo-Pak confrontation, any dissemination of anti-Armed Forces material uses intellectual subversion on the “Kautilyan principle” to damage the national fabric by attacking those combatting RAW’s acts of terrorism. Given their dependance upon advertising for revenues, subverting the media’s integrity is not difficult. On their part Intelligence high-ups generally get cosy with the rich and influential throughout the world, susceptible to their socializing and flattery thereof while remaining oblivious to their ulterior motives. “Agents of influence” wielding enormous power can frustrate any intercession by professional agency persona.
Recruited by RAW to be an undercover agent in Pakistan, Indian theater artist Ravinder Kaushik alias Nabi Ahmed Shakir was named ‘Black Tiger’ (the motivation for Bollywood’s “Ek Tha Tiger”) by India’s Home Minister SB Chavan. Undergoing circumcision and learning Urdu, he took religious education before being sent to Pakistan in 1974. Completing his LLB he joined Military Accounts Dept in 1979. Kaushik was arrested when his cover was blown by an operative captured by Pakistan’s agencies. He died in jail in 1999, Bollywood’s ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ in 2012 roughly fictionalized his life.
Most RAW operations aim to promote India’s hegemony over the nations on its periphery. Around 200 Tamil mercenaries from the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF-a creation of RAW) attempted a coup in November 1988 called “Operation Cactus” against Maldives President Mamoon Abdul Gayoom. Requesting Indian help, he was duly “restored” by India with elite commandos from Agra, very conveniently already in the air a good two hours before “the call”. A grateful Gayoom gave India a major strategic foothold deep in the Indian Ocean. Colombo asked New Delhi in late 2014 to recall RAW’s Colombo Chief Ilango “for helping gather support for joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena after persuading him to ditch President Rajapakse’s cabinet.” With the murderous LTTE (funded and trained by RAW till they turned against their RAW mentors and the so-called “India Peace-Keeping Force” (IPKF)) eradicated in 2009, India became apprehensive of Sri Lanka’s growing strategic and economic relations with China. Portraying Sirisena as the “democratic” alternative, RAW successfully engineered Rajapakse’s defeat in the subsequent Presidential elections in early Jan 2015.
Having a history of its agents switching loyalties, RAW admitted that nearly nine of its key operatives have disappeared. Joining RAW from the Indian Army, Maj Rabinder Singh rose to Joint Secretary’s rank handling Southeast Asia while working as a mole for the CIA. Notwithstanding surveillance, he successfully escaped to the US with his family through Nepal in 2004. CIA thus acquired first hand information about RAW’s terrorist activities and subversive operational methods. Our propaganda machine has miserably failed (deliberately?) to exploit the Indian perfidy internationally.
India uses all forms of warfare even on its own population to achieve consolidation and expansion of the Hindu kingdom, Kautilyan “Bhedneti” (divide and rule) employs Christian Nagas, Manipuris, Mizos, etc to crush Kashmiri separatists in its counter-insurgency strategy. Historian Kaushik Roy quotes Kautilya that all “open warfare is most righteous.” Many western (and even Indian) scholars use ‘Kautilya’ loosely denoting treachery, cunningness, divide and rule. Despite extensive knowledge about RAW’s terrorist activities, the west promotes the patent farce about a strong and benevolent India ready to go the extra mile to maintain good relations with its neighbors. The Hindutva ambitions of Modi and Duval are testament that nothing can be further than this “raw” (pun intended) hypocrisy!
The writer is a defense and security analyst.