Doval will Only be the Second NSA with Intelligence Background
“They get along really well…and have same views on many critical security issues,” one person said. “Modi expects Doval to give concrete shape to India’s anti-terror and antiMaoist strategy and streamline antiterror and anti-Maoist operations,” this person added. Doval will only be the second NSA after MK Narayanan to have a professional career in intelligence. Most NSAs such as Brajesh Mishra for Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and JN Dixit, Shyam Saran and SS Menon for Manmohan Singh, had foreign service backgrounds. In fact, Narayanan started as Singh’s internal security advisor, and only took over NSA duties when Dixit passed away. An official in the PMO who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Modi may appoint a deputy NSA with a foreign service background. Among the names being considered should the post of deputy NSA be created is Hardeep Puri, retired IFS, who was India’s man in the United Nations.
Close observers of India’s security apparatus and its talent level say Doval’s career as a spymaster has been among the more successful in recent past. A 1968 batch IPS officer who spent virtually all his career in IB, Doval is credited by security experts with intelligence successes like infiltrating the Mizo National Army and planning key Myanmar- and China-related missions. His intelligence work was also crucial in Operation Black Thunder, the mop-up operation that followed Operation Blue Star, the first big action against Punjab militants in Golden Temple. Undercover work in Pakistan and the tough job of being one of the negotiators in the 1C-814 hijacking episode added sufficiently to his CV so that when BJP lost power in 2004, the Congress government appointed him as IB chief, despite Doval’s perceived closeness to BJP leaders.
Doval retired in 2005 and was con- sidered a certainty for NSA’s job had BJP won in 2009 elections. The long wait for Doval between 2005 and 2014 was spent mostly in set- ting up the Vivekananda International Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank with a centre-right intellectual perspective.