A spy who served for 26 years under 10 chiefs and seven prime ministers, B Raman worked on some of Research and Analysis Wing's most important cases.
His memoir The Kaoboys of R&AW -- Down Memory Lane (Lancer Publishers), to be released shortly will be the first-ever look at the triumphs and defeats at R&AW -- India's external intelligence.
The Kao in the title refers to Rameshwar Nath Kao, the legendary Indian spymaster who set up R&AW on then prime minister Indira Gandhi's [Images] instructions in 1968.
The book -- says Raman, who retired as an additional secretary and is also a rediff columnist -- will trace R&AW's evolution from the day it was set up, not chronologically, but via an objective assessment of the important milestones in India's national security landscape.
Below is an extract that explains what went on behind the scenes during the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and then prime minister Narasimha Rao's handling of the situation.
The use of jihad as a weapon against non-Muslims was not the brainchild of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda. It was the brainchild of the religious leaders and military officers of Pakistan ever since the day Pakistan became independent on August 14, 1947. Pakistan's jihad against India did not start in 1989. It started in 1947.
Even Jawaharlal Nehru -- despite his strong secular credentials -- had repeatedly been drawing attention to the jihad based on hatred for India being waged by Pakistan since 1947.
Between 1947 and the 1980s, Pakistan was waging this jihad mainly with the help of its nationals infiltrated into India. It could not find many supporters in the Indian Muslim community. From the 1980s onwards, it started getting the support of some Muslim youth in J&K. Since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, it has been getting the support of sections of the Muslim youth in other parts of India too.
Before December 1992, there were frequent outbreaks of Hindu-Muslim riots in different parts of India, but no acts of jihadi terrorism in the Indian territory outside J&K. Since the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the ISI and the Pakistani jihadi organisations sponsored by it such as the LET [Lashkar-e-Tayiba], the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM-- formed in 2000 due to a split in the HUM) have been taking advantage of the pockets of anger in some sections of the Muslim youth.
They have been finding a fertile soil in pockets of the Indian Muslim community outside J&K for their pan-Islamic ideology. Some of the blame for the spread of jihadi terrorism to other parts of India as a result of the demolition of the Babri Masjid could be attributed to Narasimha Rao.
Buy your copy of the The Kaoboys of R&AW -- Down Memory Lane at the online military bookshop at www.lancerpublishers.com
Image: Surrendered Kashmiri militants before Indian army troops near Srinagar. Inset: B Raman
Photographs: Rouf Bhat/AFP/Getty Images