R&AW or Research and Analysis Wing of the Government of India is the most secretive intelligence department of our country. From its establishment after the wars of 1962 and 1965, the agency has worked as an Intelligence bureau for foreign and domestic matters and counter-terrorism.
The agency certainly has been kept under wraps all these years, but we have still managed to get some facts for you today. RAW’s motto is ‘धर्मो रक्षति रक्षित:’, which basically translates to he who does not observe Dharma is destroyed, while he who follows it meticulously is protected. Dharma, in this context, stands for the nation.
- An officer in the R&AW does not get a gun on duty. Imagine the diplomatic confusion it would create if an Indian in plain clothes shot somebody in a foreign country. They will procure and use a weapon if the situation demands but their best defence is ‘intelligence’.
- The agency was created in 1968 under the leadership of Rameshwar Nath Kao, one of India’s finest spymasters. In just 3 years, the agency helped create a new nation (Bangladesh). India had learnt the lessons from the 1962 war really well. The following note by KN Daruwala (Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee) sums up the man this spymaster was – “His contacts the world over, particularly in Asia—Afghanistan, Iran, China, you name it—were something else. He could move things with just one phone call. He was a team leader who rode out notorious inter-departmental and inter-service rivalries, which is commonplace in India.”
- R&AW played a major role in the merger of Sikkim in India. The Chinese wanted to try a hostile takeover, but we had Kao. So, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union.
- Keeping India’s nuclear program a top secret was R&AW’s responsibility. Failure to figure out what Indian scientists and the government were up to, is considered to be one of the biggest failures of the American CIA.
- Life of an R&AW spy has little to no similarity to the lives of spies in movies. No sexy gori detectives, hi-tech cars or gadgets.
- A spotless police record is a must if a cop aspires to be in R&AW. The candidate also needs to be a university graduate, be ready to pack bags at the notice of a few hours and not have anything to do with drugs. Also, the candidate needs to have Indian parents.
- The training is not easy; it will test your mind, body and soul. The rumour is that the dropout rate is very high.