Decoding the life of an Indian spy, from communication to the grand escape
The life of a spy is not easy at all. While it seems exciting as very James Bond like, the harsh reality is that, " when your cover is blow, you are on your own." OneIndia spoke with several officials in the Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing to go deep into the life of a spy.
A disclaimer: Before we begin the article, I would like to put out a disclaimer, the methods and techniques keep changing the ones mentioned below give a broader picture on how a spy operates.
On your own when cover is blown:
The toughest aspect of a spy's life is when his or her cover is blown. During the briefing or even at the time of induction, it is said repeatedly, " when your cover is blow, you are on your own."
When the spy feels that his cover is about to be blown, then the first thing he would need to do is exit the country. Normally the same entry is route is used to exit. Spies have used the routes taken by smugglers. For instance, a spy in Pakistan would use the smuggler's boat which is heading to Gujarat.
Spies have however found it very difficult to exit out of countries such as Russia and China. Since border crossing in these countries are difficult, they pretend as illegal immigrants before entering India. The entry route to the US used in the earlier days is also interesting. The entry point would be Bangkok, then Mexico and from there into the US by foot. Spies would also hitchhike their way into UK from France before landing in Poland.
Communication has advanced leaps these days. In the earlier days, spies would use invisible ink to communicate. The message written with invisible ink would be inserted into newspaper reports. The instructions would be written between the lines and would be visible under the UV light. Apart from this information would also be written in codes. The codes would vary from agent to agent.
Today spies use satellite phones with encryption. However this is both a boon as well as a bane. While the encryption keeps the message safe, it also is a bane when it comes to cracking down on terrorists who use similar methods with the highly encrypted WhatsApp and Telegram.
No honey traps:
Several officers said that India has not used honey trapping as a method to source information. The women in the spying agencies may be just at around 4 to 5 percent. While several other countries have used this method to source information, officials in India say that they have not relied on it.Honey trapping is heavily used by Pakistan. It was however the Eastern Block and Russia that used it the most.