Ajit K Doval is currently serving as the fifth National Security Advisor (NSA) to the Prime Minister, with the precedence equivalent to Cabinet Minister. He previously served as the Director of the Intelligence Bureau in 2004-05, after spending a decade as the head of its operation wing.
Doval was born in 1945 in Ghiri Banelsyun village in Pauri Garhwal in the erstwhile-United Provinces, now in Uttarakhand. Doval’s father, Major GN Doval, was an officer in the Indian Army.
He received his early education at the Ajmer Military School in Ajmer, Rajasthan and graduated with a Master’s degree in Economics from Agra University, in 1967, obtaining the first position. In 1968, Doval joined the coveted Indian Police Service and was allotted Kerala cadre. He served in Kerala for a brief period before going on deputation to the Intelligence Bureau in 1972.
Ajit Doval lived in Lahore, disguised as a Muslim for seven years. During his years in Pakistan, he befriended the locals visiting mosques and lived among the predominantly Muslim population. Acknowledged as a master of psychological welfare, Ajit Doval, as a part of his job, spied on Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI. Post his stint in Pakistan, he was assigned to the Operations Wing of the Intelligence Bureau.
Doval was instrumental in post-merger political transformation in Sikkim. He played an active role in eliminating insurgency in Mizoram. As an undercover agent, Doval spent time inside Arakan in Rakhine, Myanmar, and deep inside China to gather information about insurgents active there. He showcased his excellence by gathering crucial intelligence for ‘Operation Blue Star’, which was conducted in 1984 to choke the Khalistani insurgency. Doval went to Kashmir in 1990 and convinced infamous militant Mohammad Yusuf Parray, better known as Kuka Parray, and his troops for becoming counter-insurgents, clearing the way for Jammu & Kashmir elections in 1996.
He was one of three negotiators in the release of passengers from IC-814 in Kandahar in 1999.
Doval retired as the Director of Intelligence Bureau in January 2005. After his retirement in 2009, Doval became the founder director of Vivekananda International Foundation, a think-tank focused upon issues related to national security.
Doval was appointed as India’s fifth National Security Advisor (NSA) on May 30, 2014. In July the same year, he ensured the secure return of the 46 Indian nurses, trapped in a hospital in Tikrit, Iraq. Doval also headed a successful military operation in Myanmar along with the Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag against National Socialist Council of Nagaland militants operating out of Myanmar. Doval was given another five year extension to continue in his role as NSA.
Doval is popular for the doctrinal shift in Indian national security policy in relation to Pakistan. The Indian national security policy changed from Defensive to Defensive Offensive to Double Squeeze Strategy.
As per reports, the 2016 Indian strikes in Pakistancontrolled Kashmir were his brainchild. The person behind India’s ‘offensive defence’ in response to Pakistan’s terror strike, Ajit Doval is popularly known as the ‘James Bond of India’.
Ajit Doval was the youngest police officer to receive a Police Medal for his meritorious service. He received the award after completing six years of his service in the police which is usually given after seventeen years of service. In 1988, he was conferred with the highest gallantry award– Kirti Chakra. He was the first police officer to receive this award, which was earlier given as a military honour. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University (formerly Agra University) in December 2017; Kumaun University in May 2018; and Amity University, in November 2018.
Today, India’s defence policy is more polished, sharper and powerful because of AjitDoval’s strategic vision and all these facts make him truly a great strategist as well as a well-deserving man to be the National Security Advisor of the nation