IPS officer Ravi Sinha has been appointed as the new Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief to replace incumbent Samant Goel. Mr Sinha, a 1988 batch IPS officer from Chhattisgarh cadre, is currently second in command of the agency, and was heading the operational division for the last seven years.
He is taking charge of the position at a crucial time, when Sikh extremism and ethnic violence in Manipur are likely to be some of his immediate challenges.
Samant Goel’s tenure will end on June 30, following which Mr Sinha will take on the mantle for two years.
Ravi Sinha is currently the special secretary at the Cabinet Secretariat, and is known for his nuanced understanding of sensitive issues such as Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast and LWE (Left Wing Extremism).
With the elevation of Mr Sinha to the coveted post, the government has again underscored the importance of operational capability of intelligence agencies.
Incidentally, R&AW’s counterpart, Intelligence Bureau, which is tasked with domestic intelligence, is also headed by an officer with ‘operations’ background. Mr Sinha’s batchmate Tapan Deka, who heads the Intelligence Bureau, was head of operations in IB for many years.
In R&AW, Ravi Sinha has been attributed with infusing modern technology in the field of intelligence collection.
Government sources said that this would enable him to integrate technological and human intelligence dimensions to work together to address the challenges of our times.
“Ravi Sinha who prefers to maintain a low profile, in line with his job, is a widely respected figure across all the intelligence community for his professional competence. He has worked on a wide range of fields and brings to his new role a significant bank of experience and knowledge. He is known to have a sound grip on neighbourhood developments, besides J&K, North East, and Left Wing Extremists domains where he has served at different points in time,” an officer said.
Incumbent Chief, Samant Kumar Goel, 1984 batch IPS officer from Punjab cadre, will demit office on June 30 after a successful tenure. Mr Goel, who joined the agency in 2001, rose through the ranks to head the agency in 2019. With two extensions in tenure, he headed R&AW for four years.
Samant Goel is credited with the planning of India’s successful airstrike in Balakot, Pakistan in 2019 to avenge the Pulwama attack.