An intelligence assessment report of the Central Intelligence Agency dated December 1985 gives an insight into the deep penetration the Soviets had in India during that time.
The agency’s document was declassified partially and a sanitized copy of it was approved for release in December 2011.
Here are some of the interesting insights from the document:
1. Through a wide range of overt and covert activities conducted during the last three decades, the Soviets have built up substantial influence capabilities in India…..we believe that Moscow has undertaken activities to penetrate virtually every sector of Indian society.
2. The Soviets enjoy nearly unfettered access to the pages of Indian newspapers, largely through the efforts of the Soviet Information Department……Moscow overtly and covertly placed more than 160,000 items (original articles plus replays) in the Indian press. Access to Press Trust of India, the largest English language news service, has become so automatic that some Soviet officials have come to call it “Press TASS of India”.
3. The Press Section of the Soviet Embassy in New Delhi is a KGB operation that specializes in fast-breaking disinformation campaigns, principally targeted against the United States.
4. Soviet Information Department in New Delhi covertly finances the publishing of books in India and distributes some 25 million magazine, book, and pamphlets a year.
5. Soviets are deeply involved in the Indian political process through covert contributions to the treasuries of political parties as well as to individual politicians. The Soviets direct most of their funds to the ruling Congress-I party. Moscow also funds several opposition parties, including the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India/Marxist (CPI/M).
6. Soviets provide funding to Congress-I party coffers through kickback arrangements with Indian businesses. Although precise estimates of total Soviet funding are not available. Contributions are substantial.
7. Soviet funding reaches the two Communist parties, the CPI and the CPI/M through a combination of kickback schemes, normal business transactions, and direct cash payments. The Soviets have also devised several special methods to fund the CPI and its associated organizations.
The report also goes on to detail the Soviet funding mechanism of these political parties. It also lists a host of other activities that Soviets did to gain influence in India. Full report below: