Here's Why Every Indian & Bangladeshi Citizen Should Celebrate The Centenary Of Rameshwarnath Kao, Our First Spymaster!

Written By Ankit Prasad | Mumbai | Published:

While it's very clear that Friday, being the 20th anniversary of the Pokhran - II nuclear tests, is one to be celebrated for its significance in the history of India, it's perhaps a little less well known that Thursday too was an important anniversary in the matter of the security of the country.

It was 100 years ago, on May 10, 1918, that Rameshwarnath Kao was born in Varanasi in what was then British India. By the time he passed away in January 2002, his actions had helped ensure a minimum of two deeply significant things:

1. That his country, i.e. India, had a robust external intelligence agency in place, dealing with sensitive threats that could easily have exploded into far larger military flashpoints.

2. That a whole new country, namely Bangladesh, had been carved out of a Pakistan that at that time was threatening to unleash a two-front war on India and was trampling on the rights of its own wantaway citizens. 

As far as the first achievement is concerned, Kao's contribution was the creation from scratch of India's now-well-known Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW). He was named its first chief when it was carved out from the Intelligence Bureau and tasked with gathering foreign intelligence while the IB handled domestic intelligence. Kao was India's spymaster for the first nine years of R&AW's existence and was said to have had unprecedented access to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

And as far as the latter goes, the role of Indian intelligence operations in Bangladesh can probably be best ascertained by reading a new book by author Amar Bhushan.

It's called The Zero Mission and is said to be inspired by a true story. Here's a part of its blurb from Amazon:

In The Zero-Cost Mission, India's relations with Bangladesh are undermined by the activities of the Jamaat-e-Islami, whose camps and facilities are being used to help Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, which sends its agents to carry out acts of terror in India. Vijay Shukla, in charge of Bangladesh operations at India's external intelligence agency, has a plan - a daring one, and one that requires utmost secrecy, lest word gets out that India is interfering in Bangladesh's internal affairs. Only a certain type of operative can be entrusted with its execution. One with remarkable operational abilities, a taste for challenges and a certain disregard for authority. Vijay Shukla assigns Sujal Rath to orchestrate the destruction of several Jamaat facilities deep within Bangladesh, pulling off a mission that not only seems impossible but which runs the risk of being derailed by the agency itself.