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The Structure and Function of RAW

The Structure and Function of RAW

  • Not much is known regarding the structure of RAW, say experts. The organization started with 250 people and about $400,000. It has since expanded to several thousand personnel, but there is no clear estimate of its staffing or budget, as both remain secret.                                                The Structure and Function of RAW
  • However, an estimate by the U.S.-based Federation of American Scientists suggests that in 2000, RAW had about eight to ten thousand agents and a budget that experts place at $145 million. Unlike the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or Britain’s MI6, RAW reports directly to the prime minister instead of the Ministry of Defense.
  • The chief of RAW is designated secretary (research) in the Cabinet Secretariat, which is part of the prime ministers office. Some officers of RAW are members of a specialized service, the Research and Analysis Service, but several officers also serve on deputation from other services such as the Indian Police Service.
  • RAW had two priorities after its formation, writes B. Raman, a former RAW official, in the 2007 book ,The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane. The organization worked to strengthen its capability for intelligence gathering on Pakistan and China and for covert action in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
  • Some experts say that RAW’s efforts in East Pakistan, which was created from the partition of the Indian state of Bengal and completely separated from the rest of Pakistan, was aimed at fomenting independence sentiment.                                                            The Structure and Function of RAW
  • Monitoring the political and military developments in adjoining countries, which have direct bearing on India’s national security and in the formulation of its foreign policy. Seeking the control and limitation of the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, mostly from European countries, the United States, and China.
  • Experts disagree on the amount of influence RAW asserts on India’s foreign policy. Sumit Ganguly, a professor of political science at Indiana University, says the agency has no influence on foreign policy.                                                                                                          The Structure and Function of RAW
  • However, Dipankar Banerjee, a retired army official and current director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank, says the head of RAW has direct access to the head of state, to whom he provides input and analysis.
  • From the early days, RAW had a secret liaison relationship with the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency. The main purpose was to benefit from Israel’s knowledge of West Asia and North Africa, and to learn from its counterterrorism techniques, say experts.

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