India’s intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), operates differently from sending commandos abroad to neutralize enemies. Instead, it leverages the services of individuals who are always prepared to work for the country, enticed by various motivations. A former spy, who wishes to remain anonymous, discloses this intriguing information, shedding light on RAW’s covert operations.
RAW has earned the reputation of being a “dreaded” agency due to a series of suspicious deaths and targeted killings of terrorists, separatists, and individuals responsible for anti-India activities or causing unrest within the country. The ex-spy highlights the extensive reach of RAW’s operations, spanning from Pakistan to countries like the UK, Canada, and even the US.
In June, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canada-based leader of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was fatally shot outside a gurdwara in British Columbia. The Canadian authorities are yet to apprehend the perpetrators of this crime. Canada has recently made headlines for organizing anti-India rallies linked to the Khalistan movement. The KTF has long advocated for Khalistan, a separate Sikh nation within India’s Punjab state. Punjab endured years of home-grown insurgency and terrorism sponsored by Pakistan from the 1980s to the 1990s.
Another prominent Khalistan supporter, Avtar Singh Khanda, the chief of the banned Khalistan Liberation Force, passed away under suspicious circumstances due to suspected poisoning in a hospital in Birmingham, UK. Known as a “bomb expert,” Khanda was responsible for attacking and removing the Indian tricolor from the High Commission complex in London.
A sensational daylight murder in Pakistan added further intrigue to the world of espionage and assassination. A Khalistani terrorist and the chief of the banned Khalistan Commando Force, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, was shot dead on May 6 this year. This incident raises questions about the extent of RAW’s covert assets within enemy territories, enabling the elimination of inimical elements.
“These deaths are far from normal or mere law and order issues,” emphasizes R.K. Yadav, an ex-RAW officer interviewed by EurAsian Times. Yadav, a vocal critic of the Indian intelligence apparatus and the author of the book ‘Mission RAW,’ acknowledges the secrecy surrounding such operations, asserting that they remain largely unreported in the media.
Referring to the Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Yadav adds, “NSA Ajit Doval is not one to silently witness the Indian flag being taken down from the Indian High Commission premises in London.” His remark underscores the proactive stance taken by Indian agencies in safeguarding the country’s interests.
Earlier this year, an incident at the Indian High Commission in London drew attention when pro-Khalistani individuals attempted to remove the Indian tricolor and replace it with the Khalistani movement’s yellow flag. However, Indian security personnel stationed at the High Commission thwarted the attempted vandalism. The NIA (National Investigation Agency) promptly registered a criminal complaint and released CCTV footage to identify those involved in the attack.
Khanda was among the three accused named as the mastermind behind the attack on the High Commission, and the NIA sought information about them from the public. Surprisingly, Khanda’s demise occurred just two days after his identification, raising speculation about the cause of his death. Some media reports suggested poisoning, while others cited blood cancer as the cause.
Official statements on these killings and suspicious deaths are rare, as confirmation from “official channels” is not customary in the world of espionage and covert operations. Nevertheless, the emergence of Indian spy agencies, adopting tactics akin to Israel’s Mossad or the CIA, has captured the imagination of many. India is swiftly eliminating its enemies, akin to what one might witness in Hollywood movies or James Bond flicks.
Another incident that created a buzz in India, albeit later proven false, was the alleged elimination of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, the US-based head of the banned organization “Sikhs For Justice.” Reports circulated claiming he died in a “road accident” in California. However, Pannu himself surfaced on social media with a video message, dismissing the news as incorrect and denying his involvement in the accident.
India’s response to terror attacks and hostile activities has transformed. Back in 2008, after the infamous 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, India refrained from immediate retaliation, even though it was evident that the terrorists operated from Pakistani soil. The lack of decisive action and covert operations by Indian intelligence agencies raised questions about their capabilities. However, the dynamics have shifted.
Former RAW officer N.K. Sood, in an interview with EurAsian Times, explains the change. He suggests that India possessed such capabilities in the past, but the emergence of India as a powerful nation and the government’s go-ahead have facilitated a more proactive approach. Sood highlights the shifting global dynamics, citing instances where even US congressmen clamored for autographs from the Indian Prime Minister during his state visit to America.
Khalistani separatists and terrorists are not the sole targets on RAW’s list. Individuals responsible for terrorism and unrest in India’s Jammu and Kashmir and those involved in hijackings such as the 1985 Air India flight IC-814 have also been neutralized in the past year. Zahoor Mistry, involved in the hijacking, was shot dead in Karachi last year. Ripudaman Singh Malik, connected to the Air India bombing in 1985, met a similar fate in Surrey, UK.
Others, such as Harvinder Singh Sandhu, involved in the 2021 RPG attack on the Punjab police HQ, succumbed to a drug overdose in a Pakistani hospital. Bashir Ahmad Peer, a Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Commander, was shot dead in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Syed Khalid Raza, the Commander of another banned organization, Al Badr, met his end outside his house in Karachi. RAW’s reach extends to neighboring Nepal as well.
“India can execute covert operations because it wields more power in the world than even the UK and Canada,” remarks Sood, who specialized in handling the “Pakistan desk” during his tenure in RAW. He concludes that India now dictates terms and can eliminate its enemies without firing a single bullet, reflecting the country’s growing influence and assertiveness on the global stage.