Ajit Doval appointed National Security Adviser

Ajit Doval new NSANEW DELHI: Former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval, considered one of the finest operational brains, was today appointed as National Security Adviser and will assist Prime Minister Narendra Modi on national and international security issues.

The name of 69-year-old Doval, a highly-decorated police officer who retired as Intelligence Bureau Chief in January 2005 as the UPA government delayed the system of implementing two-year term for this post, was cleared by Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister.

Doval’s appointment is second key one by Modi after he assumed charge. The first was that of Nripendra Misra who was appointed as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

According to the official order, the appointment of Doval, takes effect from today and his term will be co-terminus with the term of the Prime Minister or till further orders, whichever is earlier. He replaces Shivshankar Menon.

Widely acclaimed for his topnotch spycraft and expertise in international relations, Doval is the second Indian Police Service officer who has been selected to the post of NSA. The first was M K Narayanan who had a five year tenure from 2005 to 2010 under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before he was made Governor of West Bengal.

The post of NSA was created in November 1998 when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee appointed career diplomat Brajesh Mishra as the first NSA.

As per the mandate, Doval would be advising the Prime Minister on matters relating to internal and external threats to the country and oversees strategic issues.

He will also serve as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on the India-China border question.

Chiefs of Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing will also be reporting to Doval now. After analyzing these reports, Doval would brief the Prime Minister.

A 1968-batch IPS officer from Kerala cadre, Doval won the police medal for meritorious service after just six years in service instead of the usual 17 years.

His admirers recall fondly the note written by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on his file before clearing his name for the Police medal in which she had said that she wouldn’t normally do this, but the circumstances were unusual.

Doval hit the spotlight when he successfully brought around six of the seven military commanders of Mizo insurgent Pu Laldenga after which he was forced to come to the negotiating table.

Having the distinction of being the first police officer who received ‘Kirti Chakra’ in 1988, Doval will be providing his deep insight about the threats faced by the country from within and from outside.

It was the first time a police officer had ever received the medal, among the highest military honors that the country can bestow.

Doval worked as an intelligence officer for over 33 years during which he had served in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

He was India’s main negotiator with the hijackers of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 taken to Kandahar in 1999.

He successfully led an operation with Intelligence Bureau officials, elite NSG and Punjab Police personnel inside Golden Temple in 1989 when Indian forces killed 41 terrorists and forced 200 to surrender, without any damage to the sanctum sanctorum.

The terrorists inside the shrine had thought he was an ISI bombs expert, a misunderstanding that had some bearing on the eventual outcome, recalls one of the officers.

Doval had also done diplomatic assignments in Pakistan and the UK and later headed for over a decade the operations wing of the Intelligence Bureau, responsible for counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence and counter-insurgency.

He had also successfully planned the rescue of Romanian diplomat Liviu Radu who was abducted by Khalistan Liberation Front in 1991.

During his tenure in Kashmir, Doval was able to break the rank and files of several militant groups.

After his retirement from service, he was running Delhi-based NGO ‘Vivekananda International Foundation’ which provided a platform for dialogue and conflict resolutions.

Known for his clear insight into and vision on Indian and global security issues, Doval has spoken and written extensively at home and abroad on strengthening the Indian security apparatus and forging closer cooperation among security forces globally.–PTI

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