NEW DELHI: Former Intelligence Bureau chief and decorated retired police officer Ajit Doval was on Friday appointed National Security Adviser (NSA), a key position in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of Narendra Modi.
Doval’s appointment is the second most important one that the Modi government has made after assuming office on May 26, the first being that of the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra, which was done on Wednesday.
The NSA’s tenure will be co-terminus with that of the prime minister’s or till further orders, whichever is earlier, according to a Department of Personnel and Training order. The appointment order was signed by B P Sharma, secretary to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. Soon after Modi was invited by President Pranab Mukherjee to form the government after BJP’s massive victory in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls, Doval had visited Modi at Gujarat Bhavan, his temporary residence in the national capital till the official Race Course Road residence was ready. He had also briefed Modi on the national security imperatives, apart from assisting the prime minister unofficially, as an expert on the regional issues, in his recent interaction with SAARC heads, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He had, in fact, briefed Modi twice before the PM met with the SAARC leaders.
Though it was clear for over a week that the Modi government had finalised on Doval’s name, there were speculations that the delay in appointing the 69-year-old to the post was due to the search for an equally-ranked Foreign Policy Adviser for the PMO. Sources made it clear that there was no such search in progress and that Doval, who was heading the Delhi-based Vivekananda International Foundation -- an RSS-backed strategic affairs and security think-tank -- was advising the prime minister on international affairs too. Doval is regarded highly as a clear thinker on strategic affairs and security matters and has delivered lectures and debated extensively with other experts, both in domestic and international circuits.
Doval has earlier served as the Intelligence Bureau chief during the previous NDA regime under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.