The Spy Chronicles

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The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace
The Spy Chronicles cover.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author AS Dulat, Asad Durrani and Aditya Sinha
Country India
Publisher Harper Collins
Publication date
ISBN 978-9-352-77925-3

The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace is a 2018 book in the format of a dialogue between two intelligence chiefs of India and Pakistan, AS Dulat and Asad Durrani, and moderated by Aditya Sinha.[1][2][3] The conversations between the two intelligence chiefs took place during 2016 and 2017 in Istanbul, Kathmandu and Bangkok.[4][5] AS Dulat is a former head of India's external agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani is a former head of Pakistan's external agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and Aditya Sinha is an Indian journalist.


A. S. Dulat

A. S. Dulat is a former special director of India's Intelligence Bureau and former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) from 1999 to 2000. After retirement he was appointed as advisor on Kashmir in the Prime Minister's Office and served there from January 2000 to May 2004.[6]

Asad Durrani

Lieutenant General Mohammad Asad Durrani is a retired 3-star rank general in the Pakistan Army and presently a commentator and speaker.[7] Durrani previously served as the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence and former director-general of the Pakistan Army's Military Intelligence.[8]

Aditya Sinha

Aditya Sinha is an Indian author and journalist. He has been a journalist since 1987, occupying positions such as Editor-in-Chief of The New Indian Express and Daily News and Analysis (DNA). He has reported on terrorism in Punjab, Kashmir and Assam and has also done reporting from Peshawar, Pakistan. He started his journalistic career as a crime reporter in Delhi.[9][10][11]


The book covers various topics such as Kashmir, Afghanistan, Ajit Doval, trade wars, the deep state, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Osama Bin Laden, Hafiz Saeed, Balochistan, the surgical strikes and Kulbhushan Jadhav among other things. In the book Dulat says that ISI is a more influential intelligence agency; however, Durrani observes that "R&AW is at least as good as we are” but discusses that R&AW may have the upperhand because it has "career intelligence officers" whereas ISI consists of army men.[1][2][12] In the book Durrani claims that Pakistan may have directed the American SEALs to Osama bin Laden in May 2011 as well as may have collected a payment for the cooperation and pretended to be surprised afterwards.[13][2][4][12] Durrani also says that ISI's involvement in Kashmir has turned out to be less than successful.[2][14]

A.S. Dulat and Asad Durrani have previously collaborated, writing a paper together titled "Kashmir: Confrontation to Cooperation" in 2013 published by the University of Ottawa.[15][16] In the book Durrani notes this in the opening chapter, which also mentions another collaboration between the two after the 59th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in 2011, when they co-authored an article on intelligence cooperation which was published in The Hindu and Dawn.[17]

Aditya Sinha says that the book has "no great revelations" but is "more about perspective" and "a metaphor for the actual relationship between the two countries."[5]


The book was released jointly by former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari as well as other dignitaries on 24 May 2018. The Indian government denied a visa to Asad Durrani to attend the book launch.[3]

The publication of the book resulted in accusations of betrayal against Asad Durrani.[15] On 28 May 2018, Pakistan placed Durrani on the "Exit Control List", barring him from leaving the country. An investigation headed by a three-star general was formed to ascertain whether Durrani violated Pakistan's military regulations.[13] Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif demanded that the National Security Committee (NSC) should discuss the book.[18] While addressing the Pakistan Senate in relation to the book, Raza Rabbani had said that if "a politician done the same thing he would have been labelled a traitor."[15][19] However in October 2018, Asad Durrani's lawyer said they had not received any notice of an inquiry and sought the removal of Asad Durrani's name from the Exit Control List.[20]

Shazar Shafat, a security analyst, suggests two reasons in South Asian Voices (hosted by the The Stimson Center) as to why Asad Durrani may be facing the backlash. The first is related to Durrani's comments on Akhand Bharat in the book such as "Akhand Bharat isn't a fantasy that nowadays some are thinking" (though Dulat calls the idea of Akhand Bharat in the book a "crazy, impractical idea") and the second is in relation to comments on Kulbhushan Jadhav.[21][22] However, a report by CNN found that the book (as well as a pirated PDF version) was freely available in Pakistan and that the Pakistani government's "overreaction", according to Hassan Askari Rizvi and other defence analysts, may be because Durrani did not get prior permissions for such a book.[23][24]

On 22 February 2019, Asad Durrani was found guilty of violating Pakistan's Military Code of Conduct for co-writing the book.[25][26] Asad Durrani's pension and other allowances have been withdrawn and it is yet to be decided if he should be taken off the Exit Control List.[27][28]

See also


  1. ^ a b Singh, Sushant (2 June 2018). "True Lies and Spies". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 9 June 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Dutt, Barkha (22 May 2018). "An Indian spook and a Pakistani spy decided to team up. Here's what happened next". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 3 March 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b "No visa to ex-chief of ISI to visit India for book launch". The Times of India. Press Trust of India. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b Sarkar, Dipankar De (1 June 2018). "The spies who turned into seers". Livemint. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b Laskar, Rezaul H (8 June 2018). "Review: The Spy Chronicles by AS Dulat, Asad Durrani and Aditya Sinha". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Book Review – AS Dulat's 'Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years'". 11 July 2015.
  7. ^ Asad Durrani, Strategic decision making in Pakistan, Strategic Studies
  8. ^ Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, Former ISI, RAW chiefs co-author book, The News, 21 May 2018
  9. ^ "Author Biographies, Harper Collins Publishers India, A.S. Dulat with Sinha". Harper Collins. Archived from the original on 3 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  10. ^ Franko, Judy (14 April 2007). "Aditya Sinha appointed Editor-in-Chief of The New Indian Express". Exchange4media. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  11. ^ Karishma, Kuenzang (12 March 2017). "Journalist Aditya Sinha's first fiction work revolves around a murder mystery". India Today. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Spy Chronicles: What Got Gen Durrani Into Trouble With the ISI". The Quint. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  13. ^ a b Abi-Habib, Maria; Masood, Salman (29 May 2018). "Pakistani Ex-Spy Chief Faces Inquiry Over Book With Indian Counterpart". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 3 March 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  14. ^ Syed, Azaz (24 May 2018). "No ISI guy ever defected or caught on camera: ex-RAW chief". The News. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b c "Ex-ISI chief Asad Durrani's name to be placed on ECL after controversial book". DAWN. 28 May 2018. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Spy meets spy". Telegraph India. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  17. ^ Dulat, Amarjeet Singh; Durrani, Asad (14 July 2011). "India-Pakistan: need for intelligence cooperation". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Archived from the original on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Pakistan Army summons former ISI head over book 'Spy Chronicles'". The Week. Press Trust of India. Islamabad. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  19. ^ Yusuf, Nausheen (25 May 2018). "Politician would've been termed 'traitor' for teaming up with Indian counterpart to pen book: Rabbani". Geo TV. Archived from the original on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  20. ^ Imran, Mohammad (18 October 2018). "IHC orders ministries to submit reports on former spy chief Durrani". DAWN. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  21. ^ Shafqat, Shazar (31 May 2018). "Understanding the Controversy Around Spy Chronicles". South Asian Voices. Archived from the original on 10 March 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  22. ^ Shahid, K K (3 June 2018). "Illusions of controversy". TNS – The News on Sunday. Archived from the original on 10 March 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  23. ^ Saifi, Sophia (31 May 2018). "Ex-intelligence chief barred from leaving Pakistan over explosive book". CNN. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  24. ^ Syed, Baqir Sajjad (29 May 2018). "Army to investigate former ISI chief over claims in book". DAWN. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Ex-ISI boss Asad Durrani found guilty of violating Pak military code for writing book with RAW chief". India Today. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Pakistan Army holds former ISI chief Asad Durrani guilty of violating military code of conduct". The Economic Times. Press Trust of India. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  27. ^ Syed, Baqir Sajjad (23 February 2019). "Army chief warns India against 'misadventure'". DAWN. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  28. ^ Malhotra, Jyoti (23 February 2019). "Ex-ISI chief Durrani, who admitted to creation of Hurriyat, stripped of pension benefits". The Print. Retrieved 3 March 2019.

Further reading

  • Asad Durrani, A.S. Dulat (October 2013). Kashmir: Confrontation to Cooperation. University of Ottawa. Archived on 10 March 2019.
  • Asad Durrani, A.S. Dulat (July 2011). India-Pakistan: need for intelligence cooperation. The Hindu. Archived on 19 January 2018.

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