FORMER RAW OFFICER
FORMER RAW OFFICER
BY PARSHU RAM KAPHLE
King of Nepal offered asylum to Indra Gandhi and her family, Indra Gandi rejected this offer after discussion with Kao who told her that PM Morarji Desai would not harm Nehru family.
What was the motive behind writing the book “Mission R&AW” ?
First, the main reason behind writing this book was the hidden inspiration which I have taken from Mr. Rmamesh Nath Kao (R.N Kao) founder and first Secretary of RAW. I have maintained cordial relations with Mr. RN Kao. One chapter of the book has been taken from his briefings. Mr. Kao has conducted a high profile investigation of air crash (sabotage) of aircraft named “Kashmir Princess”. At that time, Mr Kao was a junior officer and he along with high level American and British intelligence carried very professional investigation.
The second reason is that Intelligence is a hidden community and I have tried to present our senior officers services, contribution and sacrifices for the country to the present and future generations. I wanted to leave an authentic and historical document in shape of a book. I have documented the successes and failures of the organization between 1947 to 2004 through this book.
Don’t you think that you have violated the code of conduct of intelligence?
Your question is valid but I have not committed any exposure in detail e.g, while discussing on role of RAW during war of 1971, I have not minutely taken on number of operations which were launched during 1971 war by RAW. However, I have given a broader picture of RAW’s role in Separation of East Pakistan.
Similarly, merger of Sikkim with India was a “top secret operation” in which only three RAW officers were involved even RAW Number Two was entirely ignorant about it. Mr Kao closely guarded this top secret operation and an area of 2500 sq. km has been included in Indian boundaries. Some facts of the operation have been disclosed in detail because without mentioning these facts it would not be comprehensible.
An allegation was raised by Indian Army that during war of 1965 with Pakistan, intelligence was not up to the mark. Mr Sankhan Naryan, RAW Number 2 who at that time was incharge of Pakistan Desk in IB informed during an interview that he had forwarded 65 reports prior to Indo – Pakistan war of 1965 to MOD and whether these were utilized or not was none of his concern. In the book I have countered these allegations of Indian military officers regarding lack of intelligence during 1965 war. Similarly there were allegations of intelligence failure in Indo – China war of 1962. After the war there was a Committee; “Henderson Brook Committee”, formed to examine alleged failure of Indian intelligence. The report remained secret and not disclosed by the government. Interestingly the said Committee neither called the IB Chief for questioning nor held him responsible for intelligence failure, means that (IB) has been given clean chit. I have also highlighted this in my book. It has become a myth in India that some retired Army officers and journalists continuously write articles on the failure of Indian intelligence in wars of 1962 and 1965. However, there was no intelligence void during these two wars.
When China took over Tibet in 1962 then a threat was felt that China may advance to Indian territory while it has already taken over Askai Chin. A number of Indian intelligence personnel lost their lives on Indo – China border while establishing Ops without any support of the Army. I have also highlighted such sacrifices of intelligence which henceforth had no recognition.
I have also written one chapter regarding Kashmir in which it is mentioned that Sheikh Abdullah was initially pro Indian but later became anti Indian. Nehru kept him in jail for 10 years. Nehru instructed Sheikh Abdullah to visit Pakistan and make a comparative judgment of Muslims living on both sides. This way Nehru tried to bring Sheikh Abdullah in main stream.
What was the year of your joining RAW and what was its strength then?
RAW was established in 1968 while I have joined it in 1973 and its strength was around 5000 when I joined it. At that time India had won Bangladesh war of 1971 and RAW was expending quite fast.
My first posting was in Rajasthan and my AOR was Rajasthan and Gujarat. By stationing in Rajasthan RAW HQ, I was covering Pakistan.
In your book you have written about Sikkim merger, Himalayan region and Terai of Nepal’s possible integration into India. Could you describe in detail ?
Mr. RN Kao once told me that he was thinking about Terrai’s merger with India. This was his plan and not Indra Gandi’s. Mr Kao was monitoring King of Nepal and the King was turning pro China. Mr. Kao mentioned that when he got free from Sikkim’s merger in June 1975 then Indra Gandhi promulgated Emergency in the country, which prolonged for 20 months. During emergency period internal problems of India increased so much that intelligence was put on back burner. The RAW policies regarding other countries or vision of Kao could not be implemented.
Mr. Kao was a perfect nationalist and he used to watch in enemy’s territory. His vision was beyond India’s borders. Once he mentioned that he is interested to launch “Jeay Sind movement / Sindhudesh in province of Sindh to dismember it from Pakistan. This was his plan as RAW Chief, but such kind of sensitive plans need time for execution.
When emergency was lifted in March 1977 and elections were conducted, resultantly PM Indra Gandhi met with defeat and Morarji Desai became the Prime Minister of India and he sent Mr. Kao on leave.
PM Morarji Desai reduced the strength of RAW which created discontent and resentment in RAW establishment. PM Morarji was wrongly of the view that RAW was responsible for atrocities on politicians on instructions of Indra Gandhi.
PM Indira Gandhi discussed her mission with her Principal Secretary and Adviser PN Dhar regarding integration of Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, Kashmir (Himalayam Range)” to guarantee Indian security . What do you say ?
I am ignorant about this mission. As far as Sikkim’s merger is concerned it has been executed because of Mr. Chogyal Palden, last ruler of independent of Sikkim, who got married with an American lady which led to American interests and presence in Sikkim. This was considered as a security risk for India.
As far as Bhutan is concerned its defence falls in the responsibility of India. If China attacks on Bhutan, Indian forces would come out for its defence.
Merger of Terrai potion of Nepal was future plan of Mr. Kao / RAW and PM Indra Gandhi was not in picture.
But anyhow, Indian has serious concerns on Himalayan border!
The security concerns are not as serious as it was in past because India has consolidated itself. Now we have an occupation from Tezpur to Siachin (Tezpur, AP, Leh Ladakh and Siachin) and there is no need to worry now.
India is a parallel nuclear power as compared to China and sporadic incidents of border tension between the two countries are routine matter. The Indo - China soldiers come in front of each other off and on during tension but don’t exchange fire. In case of India – Pakistan, exchange of fire is a regular feature.
Would you like to shed light on the operations dismissed by PM Morarji Desai run by Mr. Kao and RAW ?
Mr Morarji Desai stopped two to three very vital operations that were going on which impacted our security interests. Morarji Desai was a stubborn kind of personality and he would ensure the implementations of his given orders without caring of results on national security.
Mr. Kao was running some high profile operations in Pakistan at that time and PM Desai ordered Rao’s successor, Mr. Sankaran Nair to stop these operations. Mr. Sankaran Nair informed PM Desai that abortion of these operations would heavily cost India as huge investments have been made. He also informed that if we stop these operations it would have a demoralizing effect on those intelligence operators who have prepared the assets after years of hard work. Above all it would cause irreparable damage to Indian interests. We lost some of our very important assets on Bangladesh border.
PM Desai ordered massive cuts to the agency’s budget and operation which created problems of payments for agents who were working in Sikkim, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This had a very demoralizing effect for all of us.
Merger of Sikkim was a successful operation of RAW then why payments to agents/sources were not made ?
Actually after imposing emergency some payments were not made to the agents. Infect Sikkim merged with India in May 1975, while emergency was imposed in June 1975 and it was lifted in 1977. India was surrounded by internal problems and all operations were stopped due to shortage of finance.
Morarji Desai kept a grudge against RAW. He was arrested on 26 June 1975 and released in 10 March 1977 by Congress government. During his arrest, Desai was tortured and kept in different prisons. Desai thought that RAW was responsible for this. Resultantly after becoming Prime Minister, Desai stopped all operations including in Pakistan.
Would you please elaborate the nature of operations which were launched against Pakistan?
Some important operations were being run in Sindh Province and we have some agents and sympathizers in Sindh to whom we were supporting.
MQM is a powerful party in Karachi, Sindh and BBC imposed allegations that RAW is funding MQM which is not true.
It has become a blame game in Pakistan that if someone go to England in exile from Pakistan is declared as an RAW agent and being funded by agency.
Benazair Bhutto and Musharaf both remained in exile in England and Nawaz Shraif in Saudi Arabia, does it means that they were funded by RAW.
Political leaders of Pakistan go in exile due to adverse political situation in the country. It is Pakistan’s weakness that she calls every political leader a RAW agent who is in exile. No political leader from India remained in exile due to stable political situation.
The main reason is that the political system of Pakistan is not well established and true democracy is not being practiced. Army and ISI are in full power and at the helm of affairs.
Please shed some more light on Mr. Kao’s dream of integration of Terrai with India.
I discussed with Mr. Kao regarding Terrai and I said Nepal is an independent sovereign state and buffer zone between China and India. China would never capture Nepal with the intention that she would attack India from Nepal. For that China has Leh, Laddakh border. Mr Kao had conceived that plan as King was becoming pro China.
The terrain and population of Terrai are very similar to India and people of Indian Bihar and UP deeply linked through inter marriages.
Infect King Brindra had became pro China and anti India at that particular time. A high way named Kodari high way (Khasa / Kodari to Kathmandu) project was signed between two countries.
Actually China believes in policy of expansionism not India. Tibet was not part of China, historically Tibet ruled on some parts of China with the help of Mongolia. There were internal and outer China in the past and Tibet even ruled over internal China.
China is founder of hegemonic concept and after Communist revolution, China occupied Tibet and started killing / torture peace loving Tibetans. So China is initiator of expansionist policy in the region not India.
During occupation of China on Tibet, Indian security apparatus felt security threat of Chinese advance on Indian territory. What do you say about it?
We have border dispute with China today. China is occupant on South Tibet and Khampas area (Arunachal Pradesh) while problems regarding Leh Ladakh also prevails.
China was initial signatory to Mc Mohan Line which is dividing line between India and Tibet. China’s Political Agent who at that time was seated in Lasha was signatory, Tibet Government was signatory and British who were ruling India were signatory of Mc Mohan Line. But when it was to be tabled in parliament for ratification then China backed out.
China showed smartness and accepted Mc Mohan Line until it was weak but when it become stronger then she rejected Mc Mohan Line.
The time is not far when China would be disintegrated. Tibetans are awaiting for their independence.
China is united and integrated due to PLA but discontentment and resentment is prevailing in Chinese society.
US and Japan are following the policies to make China disintegrate.
After Modi became PM the relations between China and India have improved on papers. When Chinese President visited India then PM Modi received him at Ahmedabad and when PM Modi visited China he was shown courtesy and given unprecedented protocol. However, if you see in Atlantic Japan, Cambodia, Australia, Vietnam and New Zeeland all are anti China.
In the war of Islands in South China Sea, China is unable to show courage to attack on Japan because all world forums are anti China except North Korea.
Does RN Kao’s Terai policy still exists on RAW agenda ?
It is propagated in Nepal against my book that India wanted to include Terai region into India, it was Kao’s baby (RAW future planning) but latter the situation does not favour Kao to implement his plans (Mr. Yadav requested me to clarify misunderstandings about his book in Nepal).
What do you know about the asylum offer made by King Brindra to Indra Gandi after losing election in 1977?
Yes I know King of Nepal offered asylum to Indra Gandhi and her family, Indra Gandi rejected this offer after discussion with Kao who told her that PM Morarji Desai would not harm Nehru family.
It is believed in Nepal that there is main role of India in toppling Monarchy from Nepal and to bring a pro Indian government.
I think monarchy remained more favourable for India except for some time. After departure of Monarchy many anti Indians have entered Nepal’s political scene. Communists / Maoist are anti Indian. Prachanda is more towards China and less towards India. With the downfall of Monarchy, India has suffered as Monarchy was never openly against India. Monarchy was favorable towards India and in so called democracy there are some elements which all totally against India.
Hopefully, future government in Nepal would not only be Nepal friendly but also neighbor friendly.
When last year our PM (Modi) visited Nepal then he desired during his parliament address to make constitution as early as possible to serve the people of Nepal.
India only wants prosperous Nepal. In the recent earthquake our air craft’s reached within four hours in Kathmandu with relief material. Hindustan considers Nepal as its younger brother.
What do you know about the political asylum offered by Indian Government to last King, Gyandra?
I don’t think there was any such plan as in case of Nepal, Communists were not arresting the King. Elected government don’t take such kind of extreme actions.
Political asylum is required when Army take over as is the case in Pakistan where Army take over government from civilian rulers.
The King of Nepal has relatives in India he can come and stay here any time. And he is also struggling to become active in politics of Nepal.