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By Rakesh Kumar Pandey
The book (India’s External Intelligence, Secrets of the Research and Analysis Wing) is written by a very senior officer at India’s top secret service agency who attempts to reveal some goings-on of an organization whose functioning is beyond the purview/scrutiny of the citizens of the country.
It is indeed a bold and praiseworthy attempt by a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) insider to bring to light the failure of government-appointed/backed agencies in setting out to meet their memorandum goals.
The book appears precise as upon reading it, the first thing that comes to mind are the shortcomings and anomalies that have a negative impact on the efficacy of the RAW that calls for an unprecedented action to ensure the nation does not pay the price of appointing a handful of misfit, de-motivated people in offices with unrestricted authority to plunder tax-payers money on the pretext of safeguarding them!
If that wasn’t enough, the organization is accountable to none for the astounding wealth it spends/plunders in the name of external intelligence. Such an irony considering the fact that none of these offices have been successful in providing real time intelligence inputs and safeguarding the nation against any form(s) of external aggression / internal conflicts. How will the average citizen figure out where his hard-earned money is being whisked out sans a proper accountability?
The book by Major General VK Singh is the first of its kind based on factual information from an insider of the RAW - as there is no first hand information about the intelligence agencies in the public domain. Most other works are merely partial / fragmented information obtained from those who have served in the agency.
It is an attempt to bring to light several ‘moles’ in the functioning of the country’s top intelligence agency, the primary focus being the abnormalities/anomalies in procurement/pricing of equipment, lack of accountability and our dependence on foreign sources with the resultant compromise to national security for individualized vested interests… the list is endless.
We find out that the activities of the RAW remain shrouded in mystery unlike intelligence agencies in many democratic countries that are subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny. There also exists a bitter rivalry between our top two intelligence agencies, viz. the “RAW and IB.” The RAW is faced with the task of safeguarding the nation from external threats and thereby responsible for all External Intelligence tasks, whereas the IB is responsible for safeguarding the nation from internal threats and thereby responsible for all internal intelligence tasks.
Apparently, there are certain foreign intelligence agencies taking advantage of the indecisive / bitter rivalry between RAW and IB. One fails to understand why the government organizations aren’t well-tuned to each other’s capabilities. For example, the Army, Navy and the Air Force, in spite of having such different roles / abilities co-ordinate so well in teaming up for the common cause which again is safeguarding the nation.
From this point on, after noting these alarming facts, the Indian tax-payer has a right to know how this money is spent, and this book fuels his anger at the sorry state of affairs of our sovereign democratic motherland. It is wished the author‘s hopes are fulfilled that the anger in the Indian citizen raises a public debate and an increase in accountability of our top intelligence agencies so that the country is not held to ransom by a few bureaucrats and murky politicians.
The author has done well to reflect on such shoddy state of affairs in the RAW. These and more need urgent notice and must get due importance for better administration rather than the Government prefer to hold back some of these secrets in the name of the so-called “intelligence” and let the country’s supreme, mammoth external intelligence organization languish any further.
INDIA's EXTERNAL INTELLIGENCE, SECRETS OF "RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS WING (RAW)” by Maj Gen VK Singh; Manas Publications, New Delhi; 2007; Pages: 185; Rs. 495.