Indian school children pay tributes holding portraits of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh who died at Jinnah hospital in Lahore, in Amritsar, India on 02 May 2013. — Photo Reuters
According to a source who spoke to the Hindustan Times, Sarabjit Singh was sent to Pakistan for an operation managed by a senior official at the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s main intelligence agency, who later became the agency's chief as well.
"Sarabjit was an Indian spy in Pakistan,” said an intelligence source. “He managed to accomplish the task given to him but was caught while trying to flee."
A former intelligence official, who handled Singh's case, said the operation conducted by him didn’t involve a specific tactical purpose, but was just one among many such operations that were conducted in Pakistan by Indian intelligence in the early and mid 90s.
"Some of the operations executed by the RAW during the period were totally mindless,” the official said. “Spies like Sarabjit and their family have paid huge cost for it. Sometimes, the agency officials executed operations out of personal bravado that they can get 'something' done in Pakistan.”
Sources said that, the process through which spies like Singh are dealt with is one that is evolving, which includes issues such as how they are paid, as well as instances of if they are caught in enemy territory.
"Payments vary case to case depending on the nature of operation,” the source said. “There is no uniformity in discreet payments to families when such agents are caught or eliminated by the enemy.”
"Sarabjit had been awarded a state funeral because his case was mainly highlighted due to efforts of his politically astute sister Dalbir Kaur, the source said. “His family is also being compensated, but there are many cases in which the spies came back from Pakistan knocked the doors of courts to get their dues."