Ajit Kumar Doval is the fifth and current National Security Advisor (NSA) to the Prime Minister of India. He is a retired Indian Police Services (IPS) officer of the Kerala cadre and a former Indian intelligence and law enforcement officer. Born in Uttarakhand in 1945, he was the youngest police officer in India to be awarded the Kirti Chakra meritorious service, a gallantry award for military personnel.
India’s September 2016 surgical strike and February 2019 Balakot airstrikes across the border in Pakistan were conducted under the supervision of Doval. He also helped end the Doklam stand-off and took decisive measures to tackle insurgency in the Northeast.
Doval began his police career in 1968 as an IPS officer and was actively involved in anti-insurgency operations in Mizoram and Punjab. He played a key role as one of the three negotiators in the release of passengers from the hijacked IC-814 in Kandahar in 1999. He successfully terminated at least 15 hijackings of Indian Airlines aircraft between 1971 and 1999.
Doval is said to have spent seven years as an undercover operative in Pakistan gathering intelligence on active militant groups. After a one-year stint as a secret agent, he worked at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad for six years.
Doval had also played a key role in gathering intelligence for ‘Operation Blue Star’ to choke Khalistani Khalistani militancy in 1984. Doval went to Kashmir in 1990 and convinced hardcore militants and troops to become counter-insurgents, clearing the way for Jammu & Kashmir elections in 1996.
Ajit Doval spent a major part of his career as an active field Intelligence officer with the Intelligence Bureau (IB). With a plethora of well-known awards, honours, and records to his credit, Doval has built a reputation for taking a strict stance against militancy and terrorism.
After his retirement in 2009, Doval became the founder director of Vivekananda International Foundation.
In 2014, Ajit Doval ensured the release of 46 Indian nurses who were trapped in a hospital in Tikrit, Iraq. He went on a top-secret mission and flew to Iraq on June 25, 2014, to understand the position on the ground and made high-level connections in the Iraq government.
On July 5, 2014, the nurses were brought back to India. Later, 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.
In 2019, Doval was reappointed as National Security Advisor for five more years and given a Cabinet rank in the second term of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.