Ajit Doval began his second term as the National Security Advisor with an elevated stature equivalent to that of a Union Cabinet Minister, according to an official order made public on Monday. A 1968-batch IPS officer who retired as Intelligence Bureau chief in 2005, Doval’s appointment is the first key posting announced by the Narendra Modi government after assuming office for a second term on May 30.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment for a five-year period with effect from May 31, 2019 and it will be co-terminus with the term of the Prime Minister, the order said.
“During the term of his office, he will be assigned the rank of Cabinet Minister,” the order said.
This makes Doval, 74, the first NSA who has been appointed for two consecutive terms. He was appointed to the post on May 30, 2014 and given the stature of a Minister of State in September that year after the Chinese side insisted on ministerial-level talks.
During his first tenure, Doval is believed to have played a pivotal role in the surgical strikes on militant launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir after the Uri militant attack.
He has also been widely hailed for his contribution in the national security domain, including his role during the Balakot air strike after the Pulwama attack, officials said.
Having the distinction of being the first police officer who received ‘Kirti Chakra’, a military honour, Doval will be providing his deep insight about the threats faced by the country from within and outside.
He was awarded the Kirti Chakra in 1988 for conducting anti-insurgency operations in Mizoram and bringing Mizo insurgent leader Laldenga to the negotiating table by winning over six of his seven commanders. He had also clandestinely entered Myanmar and China to break the dominance of Mizo insurgent outfit.
After a few years in uniform, he worked with the Intelligence Bureau for over 33 years during which he had served in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. He served in the UK as well.
Doval, known as one of the best operational brains in intelligence circles, was one of the main negotiators from India with the hijackers of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 taken to Kandahar in 1999.
After his retirement from service, he had been 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 extensively at home and abroad on strengthening the Indian security apparatus and forging closer cooperation among security forces globally.