Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mohanlal Bhaskar: An Indian RAW Agent in Pakistan

Mohanlal Bhaskar was working undercover for Indian intelligence agency RAW when he was arrested in a counter-intelligence operation by Pakistan. He remained in Pakistani jails from 1967 to 1974.  He and dozens of his fellow Indian spies were released as part of a prisoner exchange with India following the signing of the Simla Accord by Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Mohanlal Bhaskar: An Indian Spy in Pakistan

In a 1983 autobiographical book titled "An Indian Spy in Pakistan", Bhaskar says that he took on a false identity as Mohammad Aslam and had himself circumcised to operate as a Pakistani Muslim on behalf of Indian intelligence in Pakistan. The book was originally written in Hindi as "Main Pakistan Mein Bharat Ka Jasoos Tha" and later translated into English by Jai Ratan.
Bhaskar's mission was to gather intelligence on Pakistan's nuclear program when he was betrayed by Amrik Singh, a double agent who worked for both Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Bhaskar narrates his treatment as a prisoner in several detention and interrogation centers and his trial on charges of espionage. He met some very kind jailers and fellow Pakistani inmates in some places but he also recounts instances of hate and torture he suffered during his detentions at some facilities. From his account, the treatment he was given depended on the individuals he encountered rather than a systemic policy.

Bhaskar claims that he met former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during his time as a prisoner at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail. Bhaskar also says that Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman was in  Mianwali jail while he was held there. He boasts about the Indian Air Force jets bombing Pakistan Air Force base at Mianwali and rendering it inoperable during 1971 war.

Bhaskar's book appears to have been vetted and its contents influenced by the Indian intelligence. It particularly shows through when he reflects Indian government's party line and blames Pakistan for India-Pakistan conflict. He blames Pakistan for the 1971 hijacking of an Indian aircraft "Ganga". It has now been acknowledged by an ex RAW official R.K. Yadav that the hijackers posing as Kashmiri militants were in fact Indian agents.

The author shows his bigotry when he suggests that the actions of the Pakistani criminals he met were representative of the Pakistani society at large. He quotes a fellow Indian prisoner Sohan Lal as claiming that "of all the countries of Asia, homosexuality is most prevalent in Pakistan." At another place in the book, the author talks about General Yahya Khan's mistress "General Rani" and says "woe to the country whose rulers and husbands can be so perverse".

Upon his return to India as part of prisoner exchange after Simla Agreement, Bhaskar talks about how hard it was for him to find a job. He is particularly bitter about how little his government cared for him and his fellow spies who gave the most productive years of their lives in service of their country. Bhaskar is particularly incensed by the response of Prime Minister Morarji Desai whom he asked for help. He recalls Desai telling him: " Why should we suffer for your mistakes committed in Pakistan. Do you mean to say that if Pakistan had kept you in jail for twenty years then our government should compensate you for the same number of years?" It's a chilling message to  all Indian spies undertaking dangerous undercover missions in other countries.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan? 

1971 India-Pakistan War

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Indian Agent Kubhushan Yadav's Confession

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Covert War in Pakistan?

Ex India Spy Documents Successful RAW Ops in Pakistan

London Police Document Confirms MQM-RAW Connection Testimony

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ajit Doval Lecture on "How to Tackle Pakistan" 


Mani said...

wonder, how many RAW agents are operating in Tamilnadu (TN) or lurking in PDF or enrolled in TN/Pakistan universities ?

He Was India's Biggest Mole In Pakistan. Here's What Happened To Him When His Cover Was Blown

1. A thrilling beginning.
It was in 1975 when Kaushik was first recruited by RAW. The 23-year old theatre artist from Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, was put through two years of extensive training before being sent to Pakistan as India’s undercover agent. Part of his training included learning Urdu and getting acquainted with everything that Pakistan’s made of.

2. A new religious identity.
A lot more than just his name was changed. Not only was Kaushik rechristened to Nabi Ahmed Shakir, but was even circumcised so that he could play his role as a Pakistani Muslim to perfection.

3. A new life.
After successful enrollment in Karachi University, Kaushik completed his law and went on to join the Pakistani Army. A commissioned officer at first, Kaushik was soon promoted to the rank of Major. Also, Kaushik’s conversion to Islam earned him a family of his own. He married a local girl named Amanat, with whom he fathered a son.

4. A title of honour.
Passing on confidential information to RAW during the period of 1979 to 1983 proved extremely valuable for the Indian defense forces and gave Kaushik the title of ‘Black Tiger’.

5. A tragic aftermath.
Kaushik's cover was blown in 1983 when Inyat Masiha – an Indian agent sent to get in touch with him – revealed his true identity to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. Captured and tortured for two years straight at the Sialkot interrogation facility, Kaushik was then housed in Mianwali jail for sixteen years, where he finally succumbed to heart disease and pulmonary tuberculosis.

Kaushik often wrote home – his Indian home – describing the traumatic conditions in which he was held captive:

"Kya Bharat jaise bade desh ke liye kurbani dene waalon ko yahi milta hai?"

After his death, Kaushik’s family left no stone unturned in trying to get the respect their son deserved. However, all they received was a monthly pension of Rs. 500 from the Indian Government.

Riaz Haq said...

#India being disingenuous, #SushmaSwaraj being melodramatic about #KulbhushanJadhav meeting with his wife, mother in #Islamabad #Pakistan


The current Indian NSA, Ajit Doval, doesn’t look like either Rahab (in Bible Old Testament) or (James) Bond but I am certain he wasn’t just lurking around Data Durbar in Lahore during his seven years in Pakistan, by his own admission, if I might add.

If Angela Merkel can find the National Security Agency infiltrating her BlackBerry, it would need a special kind of schmuck to think that India and Pakistan do not spy on each other or that while Pakistan is a villainous state, India is a member of The Religious Sisters of Mercy. That doesn’t take the conversation anywhere.

So, how should the conversation go? Perhaps one can begin with Doval’s own hard-nosed offensive realism. Personally, I like that because it eschews the sweet-mouthed nothingnesses of Track 2 and throws us into the deep end in Balochistan where, incidentally, we found Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, or is it Hussain Mubarak Patel.

He is not the only one in Pakistan’s custody. There are others, too, being tried or sentenced on charges of spying. But Jadhav is the only one for whom India has invoked the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Clearly, he means a lot to India.


In the ’90s, India and Pakistan would, with some regularity, charge some staff in the respective missions as spies (undercover postings) and declare them persona non grata. As with all things India and Pakistan, there was reciprocity. The irony is that once both sides managed to PNG all the “eyes” from their respective missions, they were left largely blind. Such is the nature of the game that you need yours over there so you have to tolerate theirs over here. At that point, the entire situation looks like the abusive marriage between Martha and George in Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

The Jadhav episode has to be seen at two levels. One, his activities were in line with India’s Modi-Doval policy of waging covert, sub-conventional war against Pakistan, using and exploiting the latter’s faultlines to get a force-multiplier effect. Two, there’s reason for Pakistan to give a high-profile treatment to the Jadhav case: India is no babe in the woods when it comes to “terrorism”.

That Jadhav is important for India is a no-brainer and can be evidenced by New Delhi approaching the ICJ. According to Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, there was also a proposal for a swap: “The terrorist who killed children in APS [Army Public School] in Peshawar is in Afghan custody. The National Security Adviser [NSA] told me that we can exchange that terrorist with the terrorist you have, which is Kulbhushan Jadhav.” He was speaking at the Asia Society in New York in September this year.


By Jadhav’s own account, after he revealed his identity and rank, he was treated with the protocol given an officer. Of course, India has alleged that his confession has been coerced. There’s nothing surprising about that statement. It was a good gesture to get him to meet his wife and mother. The media spectacle should have been avoided, given the unprofessional enthusiasm of TV channels in the Subcontinent. The MEA statement, however, was disingenuous about change of clothes and withdrawal of certain other items because that is standard operating procedure to ensure the visitors are not carrying, wittingly or unwittingly, any relaying devices.

Predictably, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the MEA statement. Swaraj’s somewhat melodramatic statement to the Indian Parliament hasn’t helped either and a gesture that could have improved the situation has ended up generating another spat.

But specifics aside, here’s the corollary: How this will unfold hereon will depend on how matters are worked out away from the media’s gaze. If there’s enough give, there will be a take. If not, well, pass me on that toast.