Last time we had an amazing response to Top 10 Amazing RAW Operations and that’s the reason we decided to do another segment on Interesting Facts on RAW (India’s external intelligence agency). Here are 20 Interesting Facts About RAW. These facts have been compiled by from various sources that are available on the Internet and other print media and their accuracy is questionable.
1. ELINT operations in Himalayas
After China tested its first nuclear weapons on October 16, 1964, at Lop Nur, Xinjiang, India and the USA shared a common fear about the nuclear capabilities of China. Owing to the extreme remoteness of Chinese testing grounds and strict secrecy surrounding the Chinese nuclear programme, it was almost impossible to carry out any human intelligence operation. So, the CIA in the late 1960s decided to launch an ELINT operation along with RAW and ARC (Aviation Research Centre) to track China’s nuclear tests and monitor its missile launches. The operation, in the garb of a mountaineering expedition to Nanda Devi involved celebrated Indian climber M S Kohli who along with operatives of Special Frontier Force and the CIA, most notably Jim Rhyne, a veteran STOL pilot was to place a permanent ELINT device (electronic intelligence device), a transceiver powered by a plutonium battery, that could detect and report data on future nuclear tests carried out by China. The monitoring device was near successfully implanted on Nanda Devi, when an avalanche forced a hasty withdrawal. Later, a subsequent mountaineering operation to retrieve or replant the device was aborted when it was found that the device was lost. Recent reports indicate that radiation traces from this device have been discovered in sediment below the mountain. However, the actual data is not conclusive.