Book Review: The Unending Game

A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights into Espionage

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It was September 2016 when Asian Warrior had our first meeting with Mr Vikram Sood, former chief of R&AW during the release of the book The New Global Order. The book was a milestone for the 3 founders who have no connections with the intelligence or foreign policy experts. Thus, a chance for a meaningful conversation with a former spy was a milestone for us. From that day to the present, so much has transpired for us. The journey has truly been incredible but the one statement that Chief passed at the meeting stays with us always; “There are hardly any people in India who are presenting forward the Indian narrative in foreign policy which is very important and the majority of interested people have only read the dominant western narrative”.

Indians are usually low-key and prefer to let their work speak for themselves. While this is a noble method, in the propaganda era; marketing and the key to controlling narrative often sets the tone for dominance. Perhaps the same has been true of our intelligence agencies. They have been carrying out top-notch work quietly but in a world dominated by 007, Jack Ryan, Mitch Rapp, Daniel Silva etc; the stellar but inconspicuous work done by our agencies does not make headlines. This only makes them more mysterious and inaccessible; and so, when a former R&AW chief pens a book on espionage; it becomes a much awaited affair!

“The Unending Game, A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights into Espionage” by Mr Vikram Sood is an amazing read to understand the world of espionage from the 20th century to date. It is a great introduction to this mysterious world and the mechanisms that are involved. While espionage was propagated centuries ago in India by the great Chanakya in his treatise, Arthashastra; it is rarely as glamorous or adventurous as reel life makes it out to be and involves hours of painstaking repetitive work in reality often in adverse conditions.

The book aptly says, “A perfect spy is one who completes a productive career without being discovered and settles down to quiet retirement”. The book goes beyond talking about tradecraft and clearly explains how intelligence is the first playground in the game of nations by showing how geopolitics, geoeconomics and foreign policy work in sync with the intelligence agencies of countries to maintain their global status. It beautifully connects the global chaos tools such as money laundering, drugs, proxy wars, terror etc with their actual paymasters, the Deep State. While these tools of chaos represent the “violent” side; Chief Sood also presents the equally terrifying role of the “respectable” side occupied by NGO’s, Secret Societies like Pinay Circle, Gladio, Safari Club, Bilderberg Group, Organizations like CFR, Trilateral Commission and the National Endowment for Democracy clearly showing how global superpower status is hyphenated with trade, transnational corporations and the Cartelization of Natural Resources.

Going further, the book talks about the new challenges that technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring to intelligence agencies and how they will need to prepare themselves in the era of space, cyber and hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare will further compound the issue of intelligence failures for countries as technology being a great leveller will result in the addition of countries vying for strategic space. Intelligence agencies will need to up the ante in this dynamic world to stay relevant as the window for actionable Intel will get smaller demanding greater efficiency and streamlining to overcome bureaucratic hurdles along with a complete upgradation of skill sets.

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For India, The Unending Game imparts invaluable lessons. India recently overtook France to become the world’s sixth largest economy and is well poised to overtake Britain and become a part of the Big 5 club. A famous line in Francis Coppola’s Godfather states, “The higher up I go, the more crooked it gets”; and the same holds true in geopolitics. Great Britain controlled the world for a very long time by managing the narrative and using its intelligence agencies effectively to suppress its colonies, the US has used CIA, think-tanks and the Deep State to maintain its sole global superpower status thus far and China is already deploying MSS in ways that surpass the mighty KGB during the USSR era.

As India becomes a member of the Big 5, the journey upward will be demanding and full of hurdles. Apart from its conventional enemies, the other nations in the club, as well as those that wish to become a part of it, will try to deploy all possible means at their disposal to prevent its unfettered rise. The games will get dirtier, the chaos more bloody and the methods, unorthodox. Simultaneously, a propaganda war of epic proportions will be unleashed on the Indian public to show their nationalist policies, intelligence agencies and strategic players (both institutional and corporate) in a bad light to delay the Indian progress. India is the world’s largest democracy and holds tremendous potential to become a part of the Big 3 in a short period of time if it reaps its demographic dividend effectively.

As Indians, we must be careful to not fall for any foreign propaganda easily that harms our national interests while harnessing the power of democracy that ensures a free and fair representation for everybody. Any progress will positively impact the lives of each and every Indian and thus, it is crucial that every citizen understands the methods used by external agencies, nations to derail the India story and separate the wheat from the chaff. The Unending Game by Mr Vikram Sood should be mandatory reading for all Indians in this direction.

To buy the book, click here…

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