Table of Contents

   A spy and a gentleman
   Doyen of Indian intelligence
   Czar of India's Counter
   Life and Times of R.N. Kao
   The Legend Called RN Kao
   RN Kao's World View
   RN Kao's Major Feats

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




“A foreign intelligence agency is the eyes and ears of the government. Its activities are the direct resultant of the policies of the government, without which any government would be left in a state of limbo."

--R.N. Kao


“Pakistan deserves to be declared a rogue state. How I wish that geography could be changed and we should leave Pakistan alone to stew in her own juice."

--R.N. Kao


 “Who’s the Spymaster of the last century? Markus Wolf, Allen Dulles, Felix Dzerzhinsky, even George Smiley? Perhaps the award should go to the unknown Rameshwar Nath Kao, the founder of India’s foreign intelligence agency, RAW...."

--National Post: 4 Feb 2002


“Kao was a thorough professional to his fingertips."

--Charan Singh, Former Home Minister


“What a fascinating mix of physical and mental elegance. What accomplishments and what friendships! And yet so shy of talking about himself, his accomplishments and his friends."

--Count Alexandre de Marenches

(Chief of French External Intelligence Agency, SDECE, in 1982)


“He was effective without being overbearing and did not tread on others to get things done."

--Vikram Sood, former RAW Chief


“His contacts that world over, particularly in Asia-Afghanistan, Iran, China, you name it-were something else. He could move things with just one call. He was a team leader who rode out notorious inter-departmental and inter-service rivalaries, which is commonplace in India...Kao got on famously with colleagues of other services. He never threw rank or his powerful connections at them. He helped them in distress and sometimes people took advantage of this attribute of his. Suave and polite to a fault, he was never known to raise his voice. Tall and pale, with a prominent Roman Nose, he was a striking figure. But those who have worked with him will remember him for his kindness and generosity. He will be sorely missed."

--K.N. Daruwala, former Chairman Joint Intelligence Committee.


“ knowledgeable person can dispute that he strode elegantly, effortlessly and scintillatingly in the intelligence world of his time. In the Indian intelligence world of yesteryears, Mr Kao was first; the rest were his disciples. He was a legend and deserved to be. The triumph of 1971, India’s role in the great game in Afghanistan, India’s assistance to newly independent African countries in building up their intelligence and security set-ups, India’s covert assistance to the African National Congress, anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and to the independence movement in Namibia, the happy denouement in Sikkim and Nagaland in the 1970s and in Mizoram in the early 1980s etc. etc. Mr Kao was there in the midst of it all-active, but unseen.....He gave credit to his colleagues and subordinates when things went well and took the blame when things went wrong. He was liked by the high and the mighty not only in India but also in many other countries, but throughout his life never once did he drop or use their names."

--B. Raman, former Additional Secretary at the Cabinet Secretariat, currently heads the Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.


“R.N Kao is the most remarkable spy in the history of modern India. If not for his contribution to India’s formidable RAW; South Asia’s geographic, economic and political landscape would have been markedly different."

--Rohan Gunratna, of the few journalists to interview Pt. R.N Kao and author of ‘Al Qaeda’.


Not many people in the country would know who he was and that is the way he probably would have liked it.....he was ordinary spymaster serving a three year tenure whispering into the ears of the varied lot who came to rule India. Kao established a rare post independence institution in a tumultuous era. The cold war was at its highest fury. Pakistan’s hostility was unremitting, as it is now-Chinese hostility matched Pakistan’s and the west was much more suspicious of India and often more inimical to it than now...Kao joined a very select club of intelligence professionals who created organisations that bear their distinct imprimatur."

--Mohan Guruswamy, a Security Expert.


“All the compliments showered on him are eminently well-deserved. These include the consensus among his mourning disciples that his has been the ‘second biggest name’ in Indian intelligence after that of his one-time boss, BN Mullick, who ran the entire intelligence set-up all through the Nehru era."

--Inder Malhotra, a noted columnist.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel



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