WHAT IS RA&W ?
The Research and analysis wing (R&AW) is the foreign intelligence agency of India. RAW’s primary function is to gather foreign intelligence, conduct counter-terrorism operations advising policymakers, and advancing India’s strategic interests.
- OPERATION SMILING BUDDHA
Smiling Buddha (POKHRAN-1) was the assigned code name of India’s first successful nuclear bomb test on 18 May 1974 15 Kilton Plutonium device was detonated on the army base Pokhran test range (PTR). R&AW was given the responsibility to keep this operation under wraps this was the very first time that R&AW was asked to get involved in a project inside India. Intelligence agencies of other nations USA (CIA) CHINA (MSS) PAKISTAN (ISI) were shocked when the nuclear device was tested.
2. KHALISTAN MOVEMENT The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs KHALISTAN (LAND OF KHALSA). Back in the mid-1980s backed by ISI, the Khalistan militancy was at its peak then R&AW decided to set-up two covert task forces to counter the militants in Punjab named CIT-X and CIT-J was supposed to counter the militants and the Khalistani groups. R&AW not only managed to flush out all the militants and but they also destabilized certain parts of Punjab on the Pakistani side eventually forcing ISI to retreat and end all the activities
The operation was initiated by R&AW to get the blueprints of Long-range nuclear missiles from Pakistan’s major nuclear weapons laboratory. KRL is located in a small town called Kahuta in the Rawalpindi district of the Punjab Province, Pakistan. The R&AW agents made thorough research & one of the brilliant prudent moves was the extraction and testing of the hair samples collected from the barbershops where the nuclear scientists used to get a haircut and that was nearby the Kahuta Nuclear facility. The traces of plutonium radiation in hair samples pointed out that something was going on. Although the RAW was working vigorously things changed after the fall of Indira Gandhi in the 1977 elections which led to Morarji Desai being elected as the PM. Morarji Desai thwarted the operation as by mistake he tipped about the RAW agents’ presence in Pakistan to General Zia Ul Haq. All the RAW agents in Pakistan were brought down by Pakistan and that was the end of Operation Khahuta. However, Its believed that India wanted to bomb the Kahuta plant with help from Israel, who according to reports, wanted to use Gujarat’s Jamnagar base to launch its jets and another base for refueling. In March 1984, Indira Gandhi gave a green signal to the operation, bringing India, Pakistan, and Israel within striking distance of a nuclear conflict. But it never happened.
4. OPERATION CHANAKYA
Operation Chanakya was the operation started by RAW in the Kashmir valley to kill and arrest various ISI-backed Kashmiri separatist groups and restore peace in the Kashmir valley. R&AW operatives raided various complexes and collected military intelligence, gathered evidence about ISI’s involvement in training and funding Kashmiri separatist groups that work against India. RAW also got success in unearthing the links between The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and militants RAW is also credited for creating a split in the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Operation Chanakya also marked the creation of pro-Indian groups in Kashmir named Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen, Muslim Mujahideen, etc. Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen leader Kokka Parrey was himself assassinated by separatists militants which were backed by ISI.
5. OPERATION LEECH
Myanmar was always a tricky area for Indian intelligence. Especially because of the dense forests being surrounded by the Arakan’s (ethnic people of Myanmar). India wanted to promote democracy in Myanmar and help put a friendly government in the region. For this, R&AW established and funded Burmese rebel groups and pro-democracy parties in the region, like the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). India gave permission to KIA to carry out trade in jade and precious stones. They even gave out weapons to them. But when relations with KIA turned sour and they started providing training ammunition to north-eastern rebel groups, then RAW initiated Operation Leech. Their mission was to assassinate the Burmese rebel leaders as an example for other rebel groups that conspired against the welfare of Myanmar and India. In 1998, six top rebel leaders were shot dead and several others were jailed in charges of gun-running in the country.