Ajit Doval

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Ajit Doval

Ajit Doval.png
Doval in 2017
5th National Security Advisor of India
Assumed office
30 May 2014
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
DeputyDattatray Padsalgikar
Pankaj Saran
Rajinder Khanna
Vinod G. Khandare[1]
Preceded byShivshankar Menon
Director of the Intelligence Bureau
In office
31 July 2004 – 31 January 2005
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded byK. P. Singh
Succeeded byE. S. L. Narasimhan
Personal details
Born (1945-01-20) 20 January 1945 (age 76)
Ghiri Banelsyun, Pauri Garhwal, United Provinces, British India (now in Uttarakhand, India)
Spouse(s)Aruni Doval (m.1972)
ChildrenVivek, Shaurya
ResidenceNew Delhi, India
Alma materAgra University (MA)
National Defence College (MPhil)
AwardsKirti Chakra ribbon.svg Kirti Chakra
IND Police Medal for Meritorious Service.png Police Medal
IND President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service.png President's Police Medal

Ajit Kumar Doval KC (born 20 January 1945) is the fifth and current National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, with the precedence of a Cabinet Minister.[2][3] He previously served as the Director of the Intelligence Bureau in 2004–05, after spending a decade as the head of its operation wing. He was also an instrumental figure in Revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. He is a retired member of the Indian Police Service.

Early life and education[edit]

Doval was born in 1945 in Ghiri Banelsyun village in Pauri Garhwal in a Garhwali Brahmin family in the erstwhile United Provinces, now in Uttarakhand. Doval's father, Major G. N. Doval, was an officer in the Indian Army.[4][5][6]

He received his early education at the Ajmer Military School in Ajmer, Rajasthan. He graduated with a master's degree in economics from the Agra University in 1967.[7] He was awarded an honorary doctorate for his contribution in the field of strategic and security matters, in science and literature from Agra University in December 2017 and Kumaun University in May 2018 respectively.[8][9] Ajit Doval was also conferred with an honorary doctorate degree in philosophy by Amity University, in November 2018.[10][11]

Career in Indian Police Service[edit]

Police career[edit]

Doval joined the Indian Police Service in 1968 in the Kerala cadre as the ASP of Kottayam district.[12][13] He was actively involved in anti-insurgency operations in Punjab.

Thalassery riots[edit]

Doval worked in Thalassery, Kerala, for a brief period from 2 January 1972 to 9 June 1972. Doval, who was then the ASP in Kottayam, was assigned the duty by the then Home Minister, K. Karunakaran. Though the Thalassery riot, lasted for only a couple of days after it began on 28 Dec 1971, Karunakaran wanted to avert it escalating further, following which Doval was assigned the duty. Immediately after reaching Thalassery, his priority was to retrieve the properties looted by the rioters, and was the SI in Kannur Town Police station at that time. He also brought the looters before society and charted out effective action plans to curb the violence and everything was back to normalcy within one week, he said. "Though I was not in Thalassery at that time, I have heard of him and it is said that he was a daring police officer with great dreams", said AK Vasudevan, a former IPS officer who was the commandant of the Malabar Special Police (MSP which was deployed in Thalassery following the riots). He worked in Thalassery for five months and he later joined the central service.[14]

[15] Doval was one of three negotiators who negotiated the release of passengers from IC-814 in Kandahar in 1999.[15] Uniquely, he has the experience of being involved in the termination of all 15 hijackings of Indian Airlines aircraft from 1971 to 1999.[16] In the headquarters, he headed IB's operations wing for over a decade and was founder Chairman of the Multi Agency Centre (MAC), as well as of the Joint Task Force on Intelligence (JTFI).[17]

Intelligence career[edit]

Ajit Doval played a role in intelligence for Sikkim's merger with India.[18][19] He was trained under M. K. Narayanan, the 3rd National Security Advisor of India for a brief period in counterterrorism operations. He was also part of the team sent to Kandahar to negotiate the release of the passengers of Indian Airlines IC-814. [20][18][21]

He served as Additional Director and Special Director of Intelligence Bureau. He was later appointed as Director of the Intelligence Bureau.

Post-retirement (2005–2014)[edit]

Doval retired in January 2005[15] as Director, Intelligence Bureau (which is India's Internal intelligence agency). In December 2009, he became the founding Director of the Vivekananda International Foundation, a public policy think tank set up by the Vivekananda Kendra.[22][23][24] Doval has remained actively involved in the discourse on national security in India. Besides writing editorial pieces for several leading newspapers and journals, he has delivered lectures on India's security challenges and foreign policy objectives at several renowned government and non-governmental institutions, security think-tanks in India and abroad.

In 2009 and 2011 he co-wrote two reports on "Indian Black Money Abroad in Secret Banks and Tax Havens",[25] with others, leading in the field as a part of the task force constituted by BJP.[26]

In recent years, he has delivered guest lectures on strategic issues at IISS, London, Capitol Hill, Washington DC, Australia-India Institute, University of Melbourne, National Defence College, New Delhi and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.[27][28] Doval has also spoken internationally at global events, citing the ever-increasing need of co-operation between the major established and emerging powers of the world.[29]

National Security Advisor (2014–present)[edit]

National Security Advisor Doval Meets with US Secretary John Kerry in Washington

On 30 May 2014, Doval was appointed as India's fifth National Security Advisor. In June 2014, Doval played a crucial role in ensuring the secure return of 46 Indian nurses who were trapped in a hospital in Tikrit, Iraq. After family members lost all contact from these nurses, following the capture of Mosul by ISIL. Doval, on a top secret mission flew to Iraq on 25 June 2014 to understand the position on the ground and make high-level contacts in the Iraqi government.[30]

Although the exact circumstances of their release are unclear, on 5 July 2014, ISIL militants handed the nurses to Kurdish authorities at Erbil city and an Air India plane specially-arranged by the Indian government brought them back home to Kochi.[31]

Along with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Doval planned an cross-border military operation against National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) separatist operating out of Myanmar. Indian officials claimed that the mission was a success and 20[32]-38 separatist belonging to Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) were killed in the operation.[33][34][35][36][37] However, the Myanmar government denied any strikes took place on Myanmar side of the border. According to Myanmar officials, the Indian operation against NSCN-K took place entirely on the Indian side of the border.[38][39]

He is widely credited for the doctrinal shift in Indian national security policy in relation to Pakistan, switching from 'Defensive' to 'Defensive Offensive' as well as the 'Double Squeeze Strategy.'[40] It was speculated that the September 2016 Indian strikes in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir were his brainchild.[41][42][43][44]

Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi with the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, the Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag and the Air Force Chief Arup Raha

Doval is widely credited along with then Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Keshav Gokhale, for resolving Doklam Standoff through diplomatic channels and negotiations.[45][46][47]

In October 2018, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Strategic Policy Group (SPG), which is the first tier of a three tier structure at the National Security Council and forms the nucleus of its decision-making apparatus.[48]

On 27 February 2019, tension rose between Indian and Pakistan after the Indian Air Force airstrike in Pakistan and later Pakistan Air Force retaliatory airstrike in India and subsequent capture of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman by Pakistani military. The captured pilot was released on the next day by Pakistan. Pakistani officials claimed that the pilot was released as a gesture of peace and to de-escalate the tensions between the two countries.[49][50] Indian officials termed the release of Indian pilot as a major victory for India. Indian officials claimed that while Indian pilot was in the custody of Pakistan, Ajit Doval had held talks with US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to secure the release of the Indian pilot.[51] He is popular in media as India's real life James Bond.[52][53]

On 3 June 2019, he was reappointed as NSA for 5 years and granted the personal rank of a Cabinet Minister.[54] Doval is the first NSA to hold such a rank.

On 15 May 2020, the military forces of Myanmar handed over a group of 22 militant leaders, active in Assam and other northeast states, to the Indian government. They were flown back in a special flight. The move is seen as a major diplomatic win for India and also a result of increasing intelligence and defence cooperation between the two nations. This was made possible through negotiations headed by Doval and his strategy against militant organizations in the Northeast.[55][56]

On 15 September 2020, Doval walked out of a virtual SCO meeting after Pakistan projected what India labelled as a "fictitious" map containing parts of India. Doval left the meeting mid-way to protest against the move of Pakistan.[57]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • Doval was the youngest police officer to receive the Police Medal for meritorious service.[18] He was given the award after six years in the police force.[18]
  • Doval was later awarded the President's Police Medal.
  • In 1988, Doval was granted one of the highest gallantry awards, the Kirti Chakra, becoming the first police officer to receive a medal previously given only as a military honour.


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  2. ^ "डोवाल बने राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा सलाहकार" [Doval becomes National Security Advisor] (in Hindi). BBC. 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2014. ...अजित कुमार डोवाल को प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी का राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा सलाहकार...
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  6. ^ "Top positions in country's security establishments helmed by men from Uttarakhand". 21 December 2016. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
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  8. ^ Siraj Qureshi (6 December 2017). "Colleges, universities have responsibilities to impart skills to students: Ajit Doval". India Today.
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  10. ^ "India's 'human capital' can counter China's 'rare mineral wealth': NSA Ajit Doval". www.newindianexpress.com. 3 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Amity awards more than more than 7700 degrees and diplomas upon qualified graduands during the third day of Convocation 2018". alumni.amity.edu/. 3 November 2018.
  12. ^ "How Ajit Doval, the Centre's man Friday, suppressed a riot in Kerala in 1972".
  13. ^ Ullekh, N. P. (19 June 2018). Kannur: Inside India's Bloodiest Revenge Politics. ISBN 9789353051051.
  14. ^ "James Bond: How 'Indian James Bond' Ajit Doval had managed riot-hit Thalassery | India News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  15. ^ a b c 'Bangladeshi infiltration is the biggest threat' Archived 9 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Rediff, 26 April 2006.
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  24. ^ "About Us". www.vifindia.org. 17 January 2017. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  25. ^ "Indian Black Money Abroad in Secret Banks and Tax Havens" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Bharatiya Janata Party". www.bjp.org. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Vivekananda International Foundation - Seeking Harmony in Diversity". vifindia.org. Archived from the original on 25 May 2014.
  28. ^ Working in real time Archived 16 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Power Shifts and International Order". ISF. Archived from the original on 30 August 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  30. ^ "NSA Doval went on secret mission to Iraq". The Hindu. 1 July 2014. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  31. ^ "Indian nurses freed in Iraq given rapturous home welcome". BBC News. 5 July 2014. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016 – via www.bbc.com.
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  50. ^ "Abhinandan: Crowds gather for Indian pilot's release". BBC News. 1 March 2019.
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  52. ^ "Doklam issue: Know about India's real-life James Bond who stared China down at Doklam". The Economic Times.
  53. ^ Mehrotra, Akarsh (28 September 2015). "Meet Ajit Kumar Doval, The Indian James Bond You Probably Had No Idea About". www.scoopwhoop.com.
  54. ^ DelhiJune 3, India Today Web Desk New; June 3, 2019UPDATED; Ist, 2019 15:56. "Ajit Doval reappointed National Security Adviser, gets Cabinet rank in new Modi regime". India Today.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  55. ^ "After NSA Ajit Doval's intervention, Myanmar hands over 22 northeast insurgents wanted in India". Manish Shukla. 15 May 2020.
  56. ^ "HT Exclusive: Nudged by Ajit Doval, Myanmar army hands over 22 northeast insurgents". Shishir Gupta. 15 May 2020.
  57. ^ "NSA Ajit Doval walks out of virtual SCO meet after Pakistan projected 'fictitious' map". The Economic Times. 17 September 2020.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Shivshankar Menon
National Security Advisor
Police appointments
Preceded by
K. P. Singh
Director of Intelligence Bureau
Succeeded by
E. S. L. Narasimhan