KGB records show how spies penetrated the heart of India

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A HUGE cache of KGB records smuggled out of Moscow after the fall of communism reveal that in the 1970s India was one of the countries most successfully penetrated by Soviet intelligence. A number of senior KGB officers have testified that, under Indira Gandhi, India was one of their priority targets. “We had scores of sources through the Indian Government — in intelligence, counter-intelligence, the defence and foreign ministries and the police,” said Oleg Kalugin, once the youngest general in Soviet foreign intelligence and responsible for monitoring KGB penetration abroad. India became “a model of KGB infiltration of a Third World government”, he added.

Such claims have previously been ignored or brushed aside by Delhi. But the revelations from the KGB documents that form one of the biggest Western intelligence coups in recent years provide firm evidence for these claims. The records have been analysed in a new book about the KBG’s global operations, and the first extracts appear today in Times Books.

According to these top-secret records, brought to the West by Vasili Mitrokhin, a former senior archivist of the KGB, Soviet intelligence set out to exploit the corruption that became endemic under Indira Gandhi’s regime.

Despite her own frugal lifestyle, suitcases full of banknotes were said to be routinely taken to the Prime Minister’s house to finance her wing of the Congress Party. One of her opponents claimed that Mrs Gandhi did not even return the suitcases.

The Prime Minister was unaware that some of the suitcases, which replenished Congress’s coffers, came from Moscow via the KGB.

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Kenneth T. Tellis - 9/21/2005

The Soviet Union penetrated so many third world countries that it seems unbelieveable.

Money has worked wonders for the KGB that had so much of it, they even reached into the U.S. government.

In the case of a third world country like India, it was much easier to achieve, since there was open corruption in almost every political party. The Indian National Congress being the largest party received much more than the others.

So why are people surprised at this happening in India? After all life in India is cheap. You can commit murder and pay off the police. So the KGB knew the kind of people they were dealing with.

Those in the West that are taken aback with the KGB book, should think back to Indira Gandhi and her attitude towards the West. She lusted for power and did not really care where the money came from. Her many challenges to the West can now be explained more clearly. Neither she nor India were friends of the West, except when China retaliated in late December 1962, in the border war that India lost hands down.