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The War That Made R&AW

The War That Made R&AW

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Two events in the 1960s underlined the urgent need to restructure and revitalise India’s Intelligence system: the 1962 war against China, and the one against Pakistan in 1965, both shocking instances of failures in information gathering. The officer who would be given charge of this task was R.N. Kao—someone as unlike romanticised ideals of spies in films and novels as possible.

The founder-chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing lived and operated from the shadows. Understated and gentlemanly, he may not have looked the part, but Kao undoubtedly put Indian Intelligence on the world map. In this riveting book, authors Anusha Nandakumar and Sandeep Saket trace the roots of modern Indian espionage, and describe the newly formed R&AW’s integral role in the liberation of Bangladesh.

Kao had one goal, to build an Intelligence-gathering agency that would ensure the security and integrity of India. And eventually, the legend of the ‘Kaoboys’—the nickname given to the team he built—would spread far and wide. This is the compelling tale of how it started; of covert operations, courage and quick thinking; and of how wars are won as much off the battlefield as on it.


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Anusha Nandakumar / indian / nonfiction / politics / Sandeep Saket /