RAW 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 RAW agency certainly has been kept under wraps all these years, but we have still managed to get some facts for you today.
1. If you don’t hear much about the agency in the news or anywhere else, it’s because these guys are really good!
After all, they are supposed to keep all things ‘secret’ and not publicize their achievements, no matter how super they are.
2. An officer in the RAW 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 defense is ‘intelligence’.
3. 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 created 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.”
4. It was under Kao’s leadership that India provided support to rebel forces in Bangladesh in 1971.
Pakistan was ultimately defeated in Operation Searchlight. R&AW under Kao got definite intelligence on the location of East Pakistan’s cabinet during the 1971 war. Indian Air Force bombed the place. Based on the intelligence inputs, the Naval commandos blew up every single ship of Pakistan in the Chittagong harbor.
5. RAW played a major role in 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.
6. It is believed that RAW was on a mission to change the regime in Sri Lanka during the recent elections; the mission was accomplished.
It was done because former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse was being too kind to the Chinese.
7. Keeping India’s nuclear program a top secret was RAW’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.
8. Life of a RAW spy has little to no similarity to the lives of spies in movies.
No sexy gori detectives, hi-tech cars or gadgets.
9. A spy’s secrets go to the grave with him; even his wife cannot know that he is or has been a RAW agent.
And the hard fact is that India’s intelligence agency will come to you on its own. Do not try looking for them.
10. 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.
11. Knowing Chinese, Afghani, Pashtun, or any other obscure language gives you an edge over others.
12. Do not try to hide anything from the department.
R&AW is the Big Brother in India; if you think you can outsmart them, you have another thing coming.
13. Having a good sports record will only add to your chances of getting in.
And we have heard that the referees and the coaches of prospective officers are also interviewed thoroughly. Be on good terms with your gurujis!
14. Be ready to prove that you can work around the clock, seven days a week, under any circumstance.
It’s not a comfy desk job. If you are on a case, in all probability, even your family won’t know where you are.
15. The training is not easy; it will test your mind, body and soul.
The rumor is that the dropout rate is very high.
16. Your dream of aspiring to join R&AW has to be kept a secret.
If you plan on announcing it on Facebook, you can bid the dream goodbye right this moment.
17. Personnel with an armed forces background have the advantage of being trained for leadership skills already.
The first preference, it is said, are personnel from the armed and paramilitary forces.
18. Remember, joining the RAW is not a ticket to getting rich.
No secret agency is looking for candidates who are easy to bribe or give in to temptations. If you are looking for power, join a political party instead.
19. The RAW has been getting the tail-enders from the UPSC exams in the past decade.
Unlike popular belief, after an assignment is over, the officer is allowed to join back in his original department. So if you don’t have the mettle for it, you can just go back.
20. Even people from creative fields can join RAW.
Theater artist Ravinder Kaushik is one such example, which came into the public eye. Hemant Karkare too had worked for R&AW in Austria for almost a decade.
21. The R&AW in its present form has its own RAW allied services wing.
Candidates who are selected from the defense forces are required to resign from their core department, before opting to join it.
22. You could also get noticed at the NATI (National Aptitude Test in Intelligence)
But you would still need to clear the psychological and personality tests before you are even considered.
23. Best way to get in is to clear the UPSC and get into IPS or IFS cadre.
24. Ajit Dovil, the present National Security Advisor to the PM, has had a decorated career in the intelligence department of the Government of India.
His tenure and escapades are the perfect plot for a spy movie.