LAHORE - RAW is planning to kidnap officers of Pakistani secret services from Pakistani territory for a possible swap with Commander Kulbhusan Yadav, a high-profile Indian spy caught last month from Balochistan.

Security agencies officials told The Nation yesterday that Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) with the connivance of Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) has planned kidnapping Pakistani intelligence officers from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

Yadav, who was New Delhi’s chief spy for Balochistan and Karachi operations, was caught by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at Pak-Afghan border after a long-drawn catch operation codenamed ‘Blue Bird’.

The arrested spy, who is an Indian Naval Commander equaling the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the army, is the biggest catch in the history of counter-espionage of Islamabad and New Delhi, and RAW is too upset at this bust.

According to the plan, Pakistan Army officers of at least Lt-Col rank – preferably belonging to intelligence agencies – would be kidnapped, said the security agencies officials quoting an inter-agencies memo cum threat warning.

The two intelligence agencies, RAW and NDS, can also make bids to kidnap officers of air force and navy of the ranks equivalent to an army Lt-Col, they added quoting the memo.

The plan was made in two meetings of RAW-NDS nexus, one of which took place somewhere in Kandhar province of Afghanistan and the other at the outskirts of Kabul, the sources added.

Interior ministry officials when contacted confirmed this information but declined to share any details.

The information about the plan to free Yadav came through both human intelligence and communication intercepts, revealed the security sources when asked about it.

The aforesaid two meetings took place last week and the information reached to the counter-espionage sections of Pakistani secret agencies within few hours of the meetings, they said.

Following the information, commanders of all intelligence services of the armed forces have been asked to direct all their sections to take extreme precautionary measures, they added.

Dhanush is the codename of the operation to free Yadav, while the codename to kidnap Pakistani secret services members is Trishul, said the security agencies officials quoting the memo.

The intelligence services of the army had caught three sleeper cells of RAW and NDS from Balochistan who were monitoring the movements of the military personnel. However, it was yet to be determined if the busted cells too were part of the kidnapping plan, they added.

The hunt for the senior RAW operative, Yadav, was on for more than one and a half year under a secret operation codenamed ‘Blue Bird’. After his arrest, a number of other members of his spy ring were hunted down by the ISI, but more are to be pinned down.

The arrested officer is Commander of Indian Navy who was assigned to RAW’s Office of Special Operations in 2013 after his relieve from Indian Naval Intelligence Directorate. Yadav worked under the command of Joint Secretary RAW, Area-1 (Pakistan Desk). The mentioned section of RAW, which is India’s external security service, is responsible for launching offensive actions on targeted states.

Yadav told interrogators that he had very “specific” instructions from his top bosses that said, “Keep Balochistan and Karachi burning. Paralyze the CPEC and the seaports of Pakistan.”

The Indian foreign ministry had confirmed the arrested man was member of its naval corps but said he was a retired officer – a claim which Pakistani secret services are not ready to accept following his shocking disclosures.