India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has been long accused of meddling in its neighbours’ affairs. Founded in 1968, primarily to counter China’s influence, over time it has shifted its focus to its traditional rival, Pakistan and later to even smaller neighbourhood.
Indian performance in a 1962 War with China was miserable. Therefore, after the war, they felt the need for a dedicated external intelligence agency separate from the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) and hence RAW was created.
B. Raman, a former RAW official in the 2007 book, The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane writes that RAW had two priorities after its formation. The organisation worked to strengthen its capability for intelligence gathering on Pakistan and China and covert action in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
RAW’s Role in Pakistani, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka
RAW played a vital role in the formation of Bangladesh by antagonising the relations between East and West Pakistan. RAW trained and armed Mukti Bahini, a group of East Pakistanis fighting for the separate state of Bangladesh.
RAW helped train and arm Sri Lankan separatist group The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the 1970s, but when the group developed its alliances with its ethnic groups in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in 1980, RAW withdrew this support. After few years New Delhi made a pact with the Sri Lankan government to send peacekeeping troops to the island, and Indian military ended up fighting the group which RAW had sponsored and armed for a very long time.
In 1991, Rajiv Gandhi, prime minister of India at the time of the peacekeeping force deployment, was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber.
In the past, RAW supported Pakistani Sindhi nationalists demanding a separate state. Currently, India supports insurgents in Pakistan’s Baluchistan, as well as supports Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has created mayhem in Pakistan killing thousands of innocent Pakistani young boys and children including Army Public Schoolattack Peshawar and teen playing football in Lucky Murwat whose bodies were thrown in the air.
A former Nepalese Ambassador to India, Chakra Prasad Bastola has recently accused India as the main conspirator of the 2001 palace massacre, in which king Birendra and entire royal family were killed in tragic manner.
The history of Indian state-sponsored terrorism can be best explained by this doctrine. Indian prime agency RAW’s involvement to destabilise neighbourhood of India is nothing new as it is part of a broader “Indira Doctrine”. One of the clauses of Indira Doctrine stated, “India will not tolerate external intervention in a conflict situation in any South Asian country if the intervention has any implicit or explicit anti-Indian implication. No South Asian government must, therefore, ask for external military assistance with an anti-Indian bias from any country”.
The timing of Indira Doctrine coincided with the implosion of civil war within Sri Lanka which changed this tourist paradise into a hell hole for the next three decades. Palk Strait became the main conduit of supplying of arms and logistics to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), as RAW would push it through the strategic base of Tamil Nadu into Mullaitivu Forests and Jaffna peninsula.
When the feared and mighty Generalissimo Prabhakaran of LTTE was taken out by Sri Lankan forces in 2009 at Nanthi Kadal, the rearguard action was being fought by RAW’s operatives led by a Colonel level officer who wanted Prabhakaran to escape across the Palk Strait.
Kulbhushan Enterprise, a serving officer caught in Pakistan
India has portrayed Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav (the Butcher of Baluchistan) as innocent in front of the international media and the Intl Court of Justice. Currently, the case is being heard at the UN top court. The data collected from our research on the cost of Kulbhushan Enterprise is mind-boggling. This Indian Blue Bird was the top gun of RAW, funded to a tune of 500 million USD with a strategic mission to achieve RAW objectives of state-sponsored terror within Pakistan.
India has taken the case of Kulbashan Jadhav to the International Court of Justice. Now, if the world community is serious to end the scope of nuclear onslaught in South Asia, then the case be thoroughly investigated, may be bringing in the experts of the International Criminal Court to assist ICJ.
We the commoners want to know whether or not the Kulbashan Jadhav was a terrorist? Moreover, if proved state-sponsored terrorism; then we need to think punishment for India equivalent to the suffering it brought to millions of people of South Asia. The decision on merit would surely bring peace to the region and the world as a whole.
*Atta Rasool Malik hails from semi-tribal areas of Pakistan. He is a veteran and holds an M Phil degree in international relations’ from National Defence University in Islamabad. His interests include politics of South Asia, the Middle East and Islamic & Jewish theology.