THE KAOBOYS OF R&AW DOWN MEMORY LANE PDF
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[email protected] Recommended Citation. Arpin, John R. () " The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane," Naval War College Review: Vol. THE KAOBOYS OF R&AW Down Memory Lane by B. Raman, , Lancer Publishers edition, Hardcover in English. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. B. Raman joined the Indian Police Service in and The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane by [Raman, B.].
Worth pondering this thought. Nor does he think the win against Soviets provided US any strategic advantage. Raman is convinced that "if ever there is an attack in US soil using a weapon of mass destruction, it would have originated from Pakistan".
Worth pondering this thought as well. According to him, this was Pakistan stewing in its own sectarian juice. Prime Minister Chandrasekar secretly agreed to refuel US aircrafts proceeding to the Gulf war theater in ; but backed off when a newspaper broke the story 2. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, after a massive rejection of her "emergency" rule in the elections, considered sending Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi out of India and gave up the idea at Kao's advice.
Several bureaucrats had fallen prey to money, alcohol and sexual companionship to compromise security or not return to India. Raman's book clearly brings out the stellar role Kao's men played in serving India's territorial integrity and geopolitical interests.
Organizing the nation's sleuths blending the plays abroad, the plays within the country, using people, using technology, warding off others' spies, working with military intelligence, working with India's diplomats abroad, working with others' diplomats in India , steering through the political power play in New Delhi and staying above suspicion are big challenges. However, India is always able to get good leaders at political level, good leaders at institutional level like Kao and good workers at the field level like Raman.
Let wisdom prevail over interests and transparency prevail over power in organizing our intelligence forces. Terrorism and Karma By Abhinav Agarwal A 'skimmy' overview of India's external intelligence agency, with some useful insights, incisive commentary, and an insider's look at the highs and lows of RAW. But not without its potshots and settling scores.
The book traces the origins of RAW from its inception, and is divided into chapters, each of which covers a broad topic, such as the Indo-Pak war of and the creation of Bangladesh, the terrorism in Punjab, terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as political leaders like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, VP Singh, Chandrashekhar, and political events like the Bofors scandal, assassinations of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Interspersed are accounts of both the development and decline of India's intelligence gathering capabilities, corruption and nepotism within the intelligence community, counter-espionage, the role of the ISI, and brief bios of some of the luminaries of RAW, like RN Kao, Sunook, Girish Saxena.
It is somewhat sad and disappointing that the RAW, formed in by the Prime Minister of Indira Gandhi, reached its zenith during the War, rapidly fell into decline soon thereafter, to the point where its efficacy even in Bangladesh was close to zero.
It has been infiltrated by foreign intelligence agencies over the years, repeatedly, its cadre often nepotist, corrupt, and incompetent, its failures many, and its successes far and few inbetween, and where they do occur, hidden from the public eye.
This has continued since then. Pakistan's support - military, economic, logistical, and diplomatic - of terrorism in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, is well known to Indians, but has been denied and un-acknowledged for long or its impact minimized by the Western World. This has been sore point with Indians, and B Raman minces no words when he takes the West to task for this perceived duplicity. During his secret visits to the terrorist training camps and madrassas in Pakistan in the s, Casey used to address the trainees as "My sons".
Some of the retired CIA officers of those days, who are now parading themselves around the world and making money as the leading Al Qaeda watchers, were the original creators of Al Qaeda. Lawrence Wright, for example, in his excellent book, The Looming Tower, argues, with a lot of documentation, that the creation of Al Qaeda was very much an organic creation of the likes of Al Zawahiri and later Osama Bin Laden. Lawrence Wright's book however skirts the entire episode of US participation and involvement in the training, arming, and creation of the terrorists that first fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, then the Indians in Kashmir, and now pretty much the entire Western World.
Raman reveals more, later in the same chapter, referring to the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft in The Government of India immediately shared the information with US officials and pointed that it was a fit case for declaring Pakistan a State-sponsor of international terrorism.
But, the US authorities were not prepared to accept this oral evidence as conclusive proof against Pakistan. B Raman essentially states that the spectre of terrorism that haunts the West is more or less a creation of the West. Terrorism, grown and nurtured by Pakistan in the hopes that it would destroy its arch enemy, India, now threatens the very existence of Pakistan itself and threatens to render the fabric of its society.
Jihadi terrorism, trained and financed by the CIA, in the hopes that it would bleed and defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan, did just that, but then turned on its creators. This terrible loss at the hands of India obviously left a deep and permanent mark on Benazir Bhutto, and was responsible for her policy towards of India, especially when it came to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, that Pakistan has occupied part of and covets.
She desperately wanted to be the daughter that win the war that her father had lost. Gul replied: "Madam, keeping Indian Punjab destabilized is equivalent to the Pakistan Army having two extra Divisions at no cost. If you want me to drop the Sikh card, you have to sanction the creation of two new Divisions. Even though she had tried to stop the ISI's assistance to the Khalistani terrorists during her first tenure as the Prime Minister between and , it was under her that the ISI started helping the Kashmiri terrorist organizations in a big way in No one topic is covered in much depth.
This may be by design, but it does feel like a deficiency of the book. Some of the chapters, like the one on the India-Pakistan war, or on the terrorism in Kashmir and Punjab, - The style of writing is very much declarative - statements are made, but without much by way of reasoning or backing up with references. Part of this may be because of the nature of the disclosures, but a more academic and rigorous approach would have benefited the book and given it more credibility.
The book, for some reason, and surprising even given the fact it is a hardcover edition, is printed on glossy, art-like paper.
An overkill surely. Not exactly the Wild West By Sanjay Agarwal The 'Kaoboys' in the title is a pun on the name of legendary chief of RAW who saw it through its formative years, and to whom this book is a kind of tribute. Apart from this, there are few cowboy antics, if any, in the book. The book is mostly quite sober, and measured, even in its criticism of the other countries and agencies, though of course he has a special grudge against the Americans.
If you expect Mr. Raman, a veteran 'Kaoboy' himself, to be sharing any family secrets, you are sadly mistaken. The book is written in a kind of flashback.
There are 19 chapters in all, beginning with the Bangladesh war and stopping somewhere around the early nineties, when Mr. Raman retired from the service. In between, he covers a lot of ground geographically actually only South Asia, and little bit of France , but touches on almost each significant aspect: Bangladesh, North-east, Emergency, Khalistan, assassination of two Gandhis mother and son , Bofors, and terrorism. Each topic is dealt with in a fairly detailed manner, offering a perspective from inside RAW.
There is a lot of useful information, though there are quite a few repeats, where he has reproduced his earlier comments almost verbatim. Raman's English is fairly good, though it is not idiomatic, and sometimes downright quaint. However, this does not detract from the overall quality of the book, though the lack of a good editor is sorely felt.
He also offers a perspective on what RAW needs to do in future. His tone is politically neutral, as it has to be for someone who served under at least two different political dispensations. His focus remains throughout on protecting Indian territory and interests.
At places he offers interesting tidbits, such as the dilemma the Indian embassy in France faced when Sh. Morarji Desai stayed with them and presumably used one of the glasses to drink his own urine. The ambassador's wife had the entire set of glasses replaced!
Another interesting incident is when Mrs. Gandhi had her own staff pay customs duty for smuggling in goods from a foreign trip with her. He also shares his perspective on how the vanity and foibles of our leaders were manipulated or affected the country. Again this comes through in quite a balanced manner - without any special favorites or axe to grind. The book has been printed on expensive, glossy paper. This makes it difficult to read at times, as the paper reflects light.
The type face is good, the book is a fairly slim volume, though relatively large in size. Overall an objective, and interesting view from inside the administration. Buy and read this book, quite rare in India where most officers are quite reticent about their years with the Government. In the world of spies Santhanakrishnan How secretive should sleuths be?
Secretive enough to not let our strategies become public domain information for adverse interests; yet not so secretive to escape public scrutiny completely. At last some of our sleuths have started publishing books about their life and times in RAW. Raman does not succumb to the temptation of spilling secrets. He provides the insightful analysis one can expect from him: a There are no friends or enemies amongst sleuths. Strategic interests dominate everything else.
CIA was wary of Indian sleuths helping Soviets in Afghanistan and kept them busy by supporting the Khalistan movement. PM Narasimha Rao summed it up nicely when he said in a reference to US : "We have to get along well with them; but we have to be careful with them!
It started as early as when Naga rebels crossed over to Burma to get trained in rebellion. The rebels' dream of a Greater Nagaland, including bits of Burma, led to Burma turning hostile and stopping this. Pakistan helped Mizo rebel Laldenga conduct a campaign from Pakistan for Mizo separatism. Pakistan provided honor and support to Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan and helped him conduct his Khalistan movement even prior to the war.
Pakistan found a greater success in Kashmir because of: 1. He almost grants the entire bouquets of goods that happened to India and the Intelligence community to Indira and Rajiv Gandhi and the anything bad to everyone else! I mean if this was how a intelligence officer was enamored by a political family, what is the guarantee that it has not affected his sensibilities and decision making abilities? Fathom this: He credits Indira Gandhi for her role in the successful intelligence operations during war and many quoted incidents later.
However, no such words of praise are directed towards VP Singh or Chandrashekar for their support to the intelligence agencies during the Khalistani movement or in Kashmir. All success after Indira credited only to the intelligence officers while they duly deserve while every success earlier has been lavishly credited by the author to Indira and her son. Even after his retirement, there are instances he quotes where successful diplomatic maneuvers were credited to PVN Rao and Manmohan Singh.
However, there are no words of praise for AB Vajpayee for his role in Pokhran-II tests or other successful diplomatic victories. His hatred towards 'Hindutva' emerges several times in the book. Maybe this ensured his dislike for Vajpayee and Hindu organizations.
Worst and most unexpected of a intelligence officer is like mainstream media, he squarely blames the rise of Islamic terrorism in India to the demolition of Babri Masjid! He hints that if the Babri Masjid wasn't brought down, Islamic terrorism would have spared India altogether. As I read through his analysis of post Babri incidents, a sense of despondency crept inside. If this is how our ace intelligence officers analyse issues in a partisan manner, would it be any different today?
The threats have increased. Ways to target India have grown manifold. But have our intelligence officers and their apparatus upgraded themselves? Or do they still believe that making notes regularly is good enough to thwart terrorist attacks? Few amusing incidents Eg. I have always loved to read about the working of Intelligence agencies and their role in real.
I would rate Peter Wrights 'Spycatcher' and Maj. Alas, the Indian versions are too costly hence waiting for the low cost edition to be out sometime. Also wondering is Allen Dulles 'Craft of Intelligence' is still relevant in modern times.
Dont want to read about the survival capacity of a Dodo: Nov 07, Mihir Parekh rated it really liked it. Functioning of agency under different Prime Minister provides valuable inputs while evaluating performance of various Prime Ministers in terms of dealing with external and internal security problems. Irony and dilemmas of intelligence agencies of world, Role of ISI, CIA and intelligence agencies of other countries in context of India, their liasoning network and their functioning are narrated, though not so lucidly, which provides glimpse in this secret world.
However, some time book looks unorganized and author seems to wandering like spy, in toto, book provide good overall picture. B Raman does not forget to mention Late Shakti Bhatt, daughter of famous Gujarati writer Kanti Bhatt who died at young age of 26 due to brief illness, on whose insistence he agreed to write this book.
Plenty of anecdotes, honest narrative and more than any other thing, subject of book itself makes this book highly readable. Apr 05, Srinivas rated it it was ok. I was always curious to read about India's spy agency - and its worthiness. This book is first hand description of how RAW works, its history and procedures, and justifications for failures.
The paragraphs are repetitive at a times and opinions are more inclined towards cynicism. Perhaps just impressions of a retired spy. If you are expecting a story similar to what ex-spies from Mossad, CIA or MI6 have written - then this book is not even close.
The book does not discuss details of the covert o I was always curious to read about India's spy agency - and its worthiness. It glosses over key information elements of so called "spy agency" of India.
Good read if you can relate to the events described in the book and are interested in feeble spy operations of countries like India.
Jun 30, Vishaka Datta rated it liked it. Raman has written extensively on Indian security matters for a while now, as well as being a guest on numerous TV debates on the subject. There are few such accounts mentioned in the book. Instead, the book provides a broad overview of the history of RAW's role i B. Instead, the book provides a broad overview of the history of RAW's role in Indian policy and shaping relationships with its neighbours, as well as providing extensive details of the thinking of various prime ministers, from Indira Gandhi who helped birth RAW from IB, all the way to the government of Narasimha Rao.
In terms of analyzing the relationship between RAW, the government, and other agencies, I found this book to be an eye-opener in understanding the frequent conflicts that arise between them. Raman also consistently puts forward his views on various policies and problems that have plagued RAW through the decades, without which the book would merely be a loose collection of anecdotes.
The book is littered with incomplete anecdotes, however, not to mention curiously bad editing and grammar for someone who possessed a BA in journalism.
The Kaoboys & R&AW: Down Memory Lane by B. Raman
The other major drawback is the lack of a larger context provided to many of the events and episodes highlighted through the book. Raman writes purely as an analyst, and never once tries to portray the humanity of the spies involved, or the people affected by the actions of RAW or other intelligence agencies. If this is what you're looking for, this is not the book for the job.
Raman starts with analyzing the role of RAW in the war which saw Bangladesh break off from Pakistan. This was crucial in garnering diplomatic support for India's actions in Bangladesh, much to the consternation of the US and Pakistan. Also highlighted is the carrying out of "covert actions" in northern Burma during this war, which played a role in curbing the activities of the Mizo National Front MNF under Laldenga.
Raman highlights the role played by RAW in setting the stage for negotiations that ultimately brought an end to insurgency by the MNF.
This was an insurgency that saw sufficient violence and bloodshed from all sides involved, and Raman stays mum on all of it. Raman highlights the role played by the ISI and China in supporting these insurgencies through providing arms and training, and the non-cooperation of the Burmese Army. These claims are hard to verify for me, based as they are on classified information.
But this is true of much of what is said in the book. Raman moves on to talk about the Khalistani movement, which along with the portions dealing with terrorism, forms a considerable chunk of the book.
Again, the role of the ISI aside, supported as it was from Zia ul Haq in its policies, Raman fumes at the turned gaze of the CIA, MI6 and Canadian intelligence agencies while Khalistani militants brazenly moved across borders to organize support for their movement. It's hard for me to believe that any intelligence agency would have the power to foment such an organized movement single handedly without any help from other sources of disgruntlement amongst the Sikh population.
To that end, Raman insists that the lack of help provided to Sikhs abroad on the same lines that Israel provides to Jews also helped build up support for Khalistan. But again, this seems far-fetched.
THE KAOBOYS OF R&AW Down Memory Lane
Raman provides a blanket denial of these allegations, but rarely addresses them head on or clear the air about them. Nonetheless, Desai's distrust saw many of RAW's capabilities blunted as manpower had to be fired or re-assigned, and missions scaled back.
But interestingly, Raman points out to the rot that had already set in to RAW. Nepotistic appointments, lavish lifestyles led by RAW officers abroad, reports of RAW agents harassing Indians abroad dulled the post sheen of the organization. But Raman says that though the RAW chiefs appointed by every successive governments were remarkably upright individuals, they seemed to turn a blind eye, or were outright ineffective, in dealing with these matters.
Through each of these chapters, Raman brings out the intricacies and counter-intuitive nature of intelligence work.
These are the few nuggets that are great takeaways from the book. Often, it seems that when we thinking about American involvement in an issue, different arms of the country have their own agendas.
Or the unwritten rules about spying, like the idea that liaison officers of an agency aren't supposed to spy on the countries they're posted in, or that host countries aren't supposed to ill-treat spies discovered in the embassy of a friendly nation which ISI and IB reportedly never follow. These are the places of the book where the macabre world of spycraft are written for all to see. Raman goes into considerable detail about the days and weeks leading up to the asssassination of Indira Gandhi.
Pointing to the lack of coordination between the RAW, IB and Delhi Police, Raman sketches a depressing picture of the state of information sharing between agencies. The fact that intelligence agency failures are highlighted, and successes kept classified, creates an incentive for intelligence agencies to over-hype or exaggerate perceived threats, lest they be held accountable for a failure. Conflicting reports on threats to a VIP are commonplace, as is the issue of common sources being used by multiple agencies which means information provided by different agencies is rarely independent, or that turf wars between agencies remain a blight.
Throw in a sense of competition between agencies to be the first to report a threat, and it's a miracle that any VIP stays alive!
From Desai's lack of support of the RAW, through Rajiv Gandhi's continuation of Indira's patronage of the institution, down to Rao and Singh's grudging appreciation of its work, the RAW suffered from many flaws which could have been addressed by the prime ministers of the day. Aside from those mentioned earlier, rivalry with other agencies, a lack of oversight of the agency by the parliament compared to the practice in the US and most democracies elsewhere , troubles in preventing major attacks and issues with gathering certain kinds of human intelligence continue to plague the agency.
Counter-intelligence remains a concern as there have been numerous instances of moles penetrating the PMO and RAW itself.
Nepotism in recruitments still continue, thanks to its exemption from recruiting through the UPSC. Raman bemoans the fact that successes from an agency can never be publicized while failures can, which contributes to an impression of ineptitude about the capabilities of the RAW and IB. But it's also clear that the Indian government's refusal to declassify reports from way back when also contribute hugely to our lack of awareness of past successes of the RAW. Raman claims that the RAW's archives contain plenty of material for any future historian, but whether such a historian would be allowed to freely write remains unclear.
Perhaps political parties fear the confirmation of allegations of RAW and IB's complicity in spying on the opposition coming to light. Or perhaps that the archives are woefully incomplete and disorganized. Either way, the RAW remains an organization that is shrouded in perhaps a little too much secrecy as Raman points out, and this need for excess secrecy continues to be its undoing even today.
Read The Kaoboys & R&AW: Down Memory Lane by B. Raman for online ebook
Aug 10, Shailesh Nadar rated it liked it. The book can be broadly divided into two parts — the Kao era and the post Kao era. The best part of the book is the surprising lack of jingoism and how it de-glamorizes the role of a spy. It is much less of planned assassinations, police chases in the enemy country etc.
He is ruthless in relatively minor misgivings of the governments of Morarji Desai, VP Singh and Chandrashekar, while casually grazes over the horrendous episodes of emergency and the Bofors scandal. Finally the book seems to be hastily edited as phrases and bits of information repeat at multiple places in the book.
The individual chapters sometimes feel like more of a haphazard collection of thoughts than a coherent narrative. Overall, an interesting book, though feels like a drag in bits. Dec 29, Kaustubh Kirti rated it liked it Shelves: The book is a detailed account of RAW and how it operates.
Going into various working and functionings of the organisation the author has tried to walk the reader through the s,80s and early 90s of how RAW operated under several PM and how it changes bumper to bumper. Interesting inside information is available with pace and fast changing story landscape.
What is however missing is probably the James Bond scene you expect out of this book. Book is a very interesting read and many of the incid The book is a detailed account of RAW and how it operates.
Book is a very interesting read and many of the incidents like the assassination of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi and the Khalistan Movement are covered in detail.
How We Killed The Kaoboys
OPerational challenges and details which might not be available otherwise are up for grabs. Aug 28, Chintan Shah rated it really liked it.
This book is good. Who all if not everybody contributed to maintain inernal peace and thwart external threats against India. Though at times I felt as if, while writing and sharing his experience, author was lost in multiple thoughts; as if certain things he fe This book is good.Lawrence Wright's book however skirts the entire episode of US participation and involvement in the training, arming, and creation of the terrorists that first fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, then the Indians in Kashmir, and now pretty much the entire Western World.
In between. Raman reveals more.. The book traces the origins of RAW from its inception, and is divided into chapters, each of which covers a broad topic, such as the Indo-Pak war of and the creation of Bangladesh, the terrorism in Punjab, terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as political leaders like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, VP Singh, Chandrashekhar, and political events like the Bofors scandal, assassinations of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
There are 19 chapters in all, beginning with the Bangladesh war and stopping somewhere around the early nineties, when Mr.
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