Information on Indian intelligence agencies and secret operations is limited. After getting into a meaningless argument with half baked knowledge, I decided to ask some questions to nations best known spy master Maloy Krishna Dhar, who is a former joint director in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and author of many spy books.
As per MK Dhar, the secretive Tibetian Special Frontier Force (SFF) still reports to India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). The Cabinet Secretariat does not have direct access to SFF. Cabinet Secretariat has limited financial and administrative control over R&AW and no operational control.
Another of the less known group is the Special Group. Some 500 non-Tibetan commandos of SFF were taken out for special commando action inside the country. They took part in Golden Temple operation (part of Operation Blue Star) in 1984. This special group still exist but has been absorbed by SFF. Some elements have been amalgamated with the National Security Guards (NSG). The NSG was formed with fresh recruits from Central paramilitary forces and the army. Only a minor section of the SG was merged with the NSG. The NSG has two broad sections: Special Rangers Group (for VVIP security) and Special Action Group (for anti-terrorism etc contingencies).
CIT-J was a special operation of the RAW in Punjab against Khalistanis. A group of about 350 SG personnel had helped the police in chasing the terrorists. They also conducted transborder Int and subversive actions. This is not a permanent force. The SG personnel has been absorbed by the parent force, the SFF.
In 1997, the former Indian Prime Minister IK Gujral had stopped some operations inside Pakistan and he stopped the SFF from operating near the border.
The SSB (Special Services Bureaux) was conceived after 1962 war and was placed under IB initially later to RAW for training Indians in border areas to adopt scorched earth policy in case the enemy overran parts of the country. That SSB has now been abolished and elements were merged with the present Special Security Border force. The SSB was used in NE India to fight the insurgents.
CIT-X is an operation against Pakistan involving Mossad and RAW. It is believed that CIT-X is an ongoing operation. A declassified document of RAW as posted on some internet pages claims that Pakistan is being targeted through a covert stratagem titled “CIT ‘X’ Operations”, to be executed through the ‘Dragon Policy’. These Operations were conceived “in retaliation to the alleged unending terrorist pursuits of Pakistan” a year earlier as the “Summer Offensive”. The salient features of CIT “X” operations comprise: Recruiting known international drug and mafia dons and training agents for covert operations in Pakistan. India has denied its existence.
Then there were CAT operations in Punjab which were conducted by the IB/police. It involved utilizing captured terrorists for locating Khalistani hideouts. Some were trained and sent back to Pak for gathering intelligence of training given by the ISI. A good description of the operation is given in MK Dhars book “Black Thunder.”
Updated (11 Sept 2013) A journalist of repute, who wishes not to be named, mailed the following :
Might like to add DGS or Directorate General Security to it. DGS is an orgn that predates RAW, set up in 1962 with three arms—SFF, ARC and SSB. SSB is now with the home ministry. SFF and ARC continue. Secretary (R) as the RAW chief is called, wears a second hat as Director General Security.
SG is actually 4 Vikas or the 4th battalion of the Vikas regiment (Est 22) which was converted for special missions. Raised in 1982 with 3 squadrons (special forces equivalent of an infantry company). 2 squadrons taken out to form NSG in 1984. Participated in storming of Golden Temple, Bluestar 1984.
SG re-raised with a different mandate in 1987 in Sarsawa. They continue to function under DGS.
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