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The Kaoboys & R&AW: Down Memory Lane Hardcover – October 10, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Lancer Publishers LLC (October 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097961743X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979617430
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

B. Raman joined the Indian Police Service in 1961 and served in Madhya Pradesh as a police officer from November 1962 to July 1967. He joined the External Intelligence Division of the Intelligence Bureau of the government of India in July 1967 and moved to the Research & Analysis Wing (R &AW) of the Cabinet Secretariat, when it was created in September 1968 as an external intelligence agency of the government of India. He served as the head of the Counter-Terrorism Division of the R&AW from 1988 to 1994, and has been a member of numerous intelligence groups. He testified on terrorism before the US House Armed Services Committee in 2002, and before a subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee in 2003. He is the author of four books-Intelligence: Past, Present & Future, A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally, The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane and Terrorism: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow-all published by Lancer Publishers of New Delhi.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
The book has been printed on expensive, glossy paper.
Sanjay Agarwal
Raman's book clearly brings out the stellar role Kao's men played in serving India's territorial integrity and geopolitical interests.
T. R. Santhanakrishnan
Ramanji does a good job of making an honest assesment of the various phases that RAW has undergone through its life.
Vijay Krishna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sanjay Agarwal on September 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The 'Kaoboys' in the title is a pun on the name of legendary chief of RAW who saw it through its formative years, and to whom this book is a kind of tribute. Apart from this, there are few cowboy antics, if any, in the book. The book is mostly quite sober, and measured, even in its criticism of the other countries and agencies, though of course he has a special grudge against the Americans. If you expect Mr. Raman, a veteran 'Kaoboy' himself, to be sharing any family secrets, you are sadly mistaken.

The book is written in a kind of flashback. There are 19 chapters in all, beginning with the Bangladesh war (1971) and stopping somewhere around the early nineties, when Mr. Raman retired from the service. In between, he covers a lot of ground geographically (actually only South Asia, and little bit of France), but touches on almost each significant aspect: Bangladesh, North-east, Emergency, Khalistan, assassination of two Gandhis (mother and son), Bofors, and terrorism. Each topic is dealt with in a fairly detailed manner, offering a perspective from inside RAW.

There is a lot of useful information, though there are quite a few repeats, where he has reproduced his earlier comments almost verbatim. Mr. Raman's English is fairly good, though it is not idiomatic, and sometimes downright quaint. However, this does not detract from the overall quality of the book, though the lack of a good editor is sorely felt.

He also offers a perspective on what RAW needs to do in future. His tone is politically neutral, as it has to be for someone who served under at least two different political dispensations. His focus remains throughout on protecting Indian territory and interests.

At some places, he frankly admits the mistakes which RAW, and Shri Kao, made.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. R. Santhanakrishnan on December 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
How secretive should sleuths be?

Secretive enough to not let our strategies become public domain information for adverse interests; yet not so secretive to escape public scrutiny completely.

At last some of our sleuths have started publishing books about their life and times in RAW.

Raman does not succumb to the temptation of spilling secrets.

He provides the insightful analysis one can expect from him:

(a) There are no friends or enemies amongst sleuths. Strategic interests dominate everything else. CIA was wary of Indian sleuths helping Soviets in Afghanistan and kept them busy by supporting the Khalistan movement. (Friendship between Kao and then CIA director George Bush changed this policy). CIA was happy to train ISI on terrorism in foreign lands (mainly directed against Soviets). Yet CIA was happy to train RAW/IB on counter -terrorism. French intelligence penetrated Prime Minister's office and gained access to RAW briefings. Yet French intelligence was happy to co-operate with India and provide US/Soviet fleet movements in Indian Ocean. PM Narasimha Rao summed it up nicely when he said (in a reference to US): "We have to get along well with them; but we have to be careful with them!"

(b) Pakistan's divisive actions in India did not stem from the loss of East Pakistan as Bangladesh. It started as early as 1956 when Naga rebels crossed over to Burma to get trained in rebellion. (The rebels' dream of a Greater Nagaland, including bits of Burma, led to Burma turning hostile and stopping this). Pakistan helped Mizo rebel Laldenga conduct a campaign from Pakistan for Mizo separatism. (Laldenga began to dislike to his ISI handlers and made a deal with RAW to move to India).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Abhinav Agarwal VINE VOICE on February 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A 'skimmy' overview of India's external intelligence agency, with some useful insights, incisive commentary, and an insider's look at the highs and lows of RAW. But not without its potshots and settling scores.

Bahukutumbi Raman is a former head of the counter-terrorism division of India's external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). This book is a reminisce of his time in R&AW. The book traces the origins of RAW from its inception, and is divided into chapters, each of which covers a broad topic, such as the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and the creation of Bangladesh, the terrorism in Punjab, terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as political leaders like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, VP Singh, Chandrashekhar, and political events like the Bofors scandal, assassinations of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Interspersed are accounts of both the development and decline of India's intelligence gathering capabilities, corruption and nepotism within the intelligence community, counter-espionage, the role of the ISI, and brief bios of some of the luminaries of RAW, like RN Kao, Sunook, Girish Saxena.

It is somewhat sad and disappointing that the RAW, formed in 1968 by the Prime Minister of Indira Gandhi, reached its zenith during the 1971 War, rapidly fell into decline soon thereafter, to the point where its efficacy even in Bangladesh was close to zero. It has been infiltrated by foreign intelligence agencies over the years, repeatedly, its cadre often nepotist, corrupt, and incompetent, its failures many, and its successes far and few inbetween, and where they do occur, hidden from the public eye.

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