RAW (R&AW)…Research and Analysis Wing, as most of you would be knowing it is the premier intelligence body in India and its primary work is concerned with foreign intelligence. It was founded in 1968 under the visionary leadership of Late PM Indira Gandhi and it turned out to be a game-changer in India’s history of intelligence. It was headed by Rameshwar Nath Kao (R.N. Kao) and his team was popularly known as ‘KAOBOYS’ (cowboys). Whether it was the 1971 and 1999 wars or the Smiling Buddha Pokhran Nuclear Test, RAW played a crucial role in them.  Some of the most daring and significant missions undertaken by RAW are Operation Chanakya, Operation Cactus, Operation Leech, Operation Meghdoot and the one we are going to delve deeper into…Operation Kahuta.


The Tussle for Nuclear Power

After India performed the first nuclear tests at Pokhran in 1974 (the one in 1998 was the second), other big countries simply couldn’t digest it. After all, how can ‘we’ progress in life, because all the development and destruction have been patented by those big countries? The most frustrated country was…no surprises, our dear neighbour…PAKISTAN. At that time, America and Canada were helping India in developing nuclear capacities. On the other hand, France came in Pakistan’s support. And…again no surprises China too came forward in helping Pakistan to purify Uranium to develop nuclear weapons.

We all know that after India broke the war into Bangladesh in 1971, the US supported Pakistan and pressurized India. But, surprisingly this time, the US was not in full support of Pakistan and it instead put pressure on France for not helping Pakistan. After France withdrew its support, Pakistan was left with very less options. It started developing its KAHUTA Plant, that too in full secrecy.

Nuclearization of Pakistan

Pakistan PM Benazir Bhutto had once said “We have to develop nuclear power at all costs, even if we have to feed our country with grass and water”. This statement is enough to say how determined Pakistan was in developing nuclear power. Abdul Qadir Khan…the nuclear scientist of Pakistan was popularly known as the father of the nuclear programs in Pakistan. He made a visit to Pyongyang, North Korea and we all know the nuclear development in North Korea. Here, other than India, there was one more country that was getting uncomfortable with these developments in Pakistan…it was Israel. So, MOSSAD too collaborated with the RAW on this.


Operation Kahuta Begins

RAW agents carefully placed themselves in Pakistan to gather intelligence. They established their networks and got the hint about the Kahuta operation But, the operation was taking place in an extremely secretive manner. RAW knew that it can’t just infiltrate into the nuclear plant like TOM CRUISE. But, somehow RAW came to find out about the barbershop where the nuclear scientists used to go for hair-cuts. The agents would firmly place themselves at the shop and after the scientists were done with their hair-cuts, they would simply bend down and pick up the fallen hairpieces. These hairpieces were treated at the lab and then came the biggest point in the mission, as RAW was sure that there was a plutonium plant being operated at Kahuta. RAW was all set for the final blow…BUT

Morarji Desai - A visionary leader and statesman

Roadblocks in the Mission

RAW needed some 7.5 lakh to execute this mission (which was a big enough amount at that time to need PM’s accent). But, all this while, political equations in India had changed quite a lot. After Indira Gandhi’s terrible ‘Emergency’ regime, she was out of power and her arch-rival-cum-enemy MORARJI DESAI was the prime minister. As a PM, all he did was take revenge on his predecessor. One after the other case was filed against Indira Gandhi and she faced multiple arrests as well. Not just that, he also reduced the fundings of the institutions, started and visualized by Indira. He also reduced the fundings of RAW and IB by as much as 40%. After all this, the RAW founder RN Kao resigned disappointed, which was also the end of his exemplary career. Even his successor KS Nair parted ways soon after his appointment, due to PM Desai’s attitude.

The Real Damage

If you think that was all the damage that Moraji Desai did…then you are absolutely wrong. Actually, he had quite good relations with the then Pakistani prime minister Zia-ul-Haq. They used to talk for hours on calls. The subject of discussion varied from their personal lives to the country’s affairs…and yes also about timing and frequency of doing URINE THERAPY (Drinking and massaging one’s own urine).

Now…you might need to read it twice or thrice, but during a call, he told PM Haq that India knows about the ‘secret’ operation of Pakistan. PM Zia was smart enough to get the hint. On expected lines, ISI and Pakistani forces went into ‘Damage Control’. The whole network of RAW was found out, the undercover agents were brutally killed down and with that, this ‘Mission Impossible’ operation came to an end on a disappointing note.

I am in class 10. What should I do to join RAW? - Quora

Conclusion: Salute to the KAOBOYS

This was the story of how RAW was almost able to kill down the whole Nuclear mission of Pakistan. But, due to the idiocy of our former prime minister, everything got just botched up. Here, we can learn a great lesson. PM Desa simply never took RAW and other institutions seriously, just because they were visualized by PM Gandhi. It was the reason why he didn’t think the mission was serious enough to be kept under wraps. That’s what happens when a current government just has one agenda, downsizing the previous one. Instead, the focus should always be to keep up the good work of your predecessors. Irrespective of how many differences are there on ideological lines, the differences should not come in the way of real development.

Here, many might think that I have a hidden agenda against our former PM Morarji Desai. No…that is not at all the case. All I want is to tell this untold story, how marvellous a job RAW did and what went disastrous on the political lines. Also, here we should not think that RAW was doing anything wrong or ISI is a bad organization. At the end of the day, all these organizations work for the security of their countries and we all should respect that fact, whatever be our nationality. Lastly, I would like to dedicate this article in remembrance of the agents who have done so much and are doing so much for our country. Thank You…KAOBOYS…!!!!!




  1. Operation Kahuta – When RAW Agents Slowed Pakistan’s Nuclear Program By Taking Hair Samples

  2. Operation Kahuta- When RAW Agents Almost Reached The Pakistan Nuclear Reactor

Don’t miss my posts!

We don’t spam!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *