New Delhi, May 30
Former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval was Friday appointed National Security Advisor, an official statement said, formalising a key appointment of the Narendra Modi government that was expected for some time.
Doval’s appointment comes after his name was cleared by the appointments committee of the cabinet (ACC), according to an official statement.
His appointment will be co-terminus with the term of the prime minister or till further orders, whichever is earlier, the order said.
This is the second key appointment made by the Modi government, which assumed charge May 26. The first major appointment was that of Nripendra Mishra as Modi’s principal secretary.
Doval, 69, an IPS officer of the 1968 batch of Kerala cadre, was Intelligence Bureau chief 2004-05. For the past nine years he has been heading the Vivekananda International Foundation, a think tank known to be close to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mishra too is executive council member of the same think tank.
Considered close to senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, Doval’s name had been doing the rounds for the post of the NSA ever since the BJP swept to power in the election.
He takes over from Shivshankar Menon, who is from the Indian Foreign Service.
Doval had met Modi at Gujarat Bhavan before the May 26 swearing in, fuelling further speculation.
He has the distinction of being the first police officer to receive the Kirti Chakra, a military honour.
Doval was India’s key negotiator with the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane IC-814 which was taken to Kandahar in 1999.
He had conducted anti-insurgency operations in Mizoram and succeeded in bringing out insurgent leader Laldenga to the negotiating table.
He worked in the Indian mission in Pakistan from 1983 to 1987.
Doval had also successfully planned the rescue of Romanian diplomat Liviu Radu who was abducted by Khalistan Liberation Front militants in 1991. He was also behind the success of Operation Black Thunder in Punjab in 1989 and was inside the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar when security forces entered to flush out terrorists.