Are the Americans likely to walk away simply because they are exasperated? After having spent a trillion dollars, losing thousands of lives, losing face – so soon after their reversal in Syria – are they really contemplating withdrawal? Will the bosses of UNOCAL suck their thumbs now? Will the priceless poppy fields of Helmand, the oil in the North, the unexplored mineral wealth now become a Russian asset?

The Indian tax payers’ have funded the Rafale deal. The government has executed the deal on behalf of the Indian citizens’ to strengthen India’s national security. Bolstering the capabilities of the Indian defence forces is an objective every Indian citizen unquestioningly supports. Therefore, its legitimate to ask and understand the need for hidden clauses within the Rafale contract.

This column is not to recount R N Kao’s successes or failures; he saw both in good measures. For despite the paucity, there have been some books both by his colleagues and some by later spies, one of whom had the good sense of recording him for posterity. Instead, this column is just to inspire us Indians – in a world where history is being slaughtered daily – to study our gradually eroding past.