Ajit Doval to continue as NSA, elevated to Cabinet rank

Biden Administration says India is a crucial partner for the United States
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is set to meet with his US counterpart Jack Sullivan on Jan 31 I Photo: PTI

Ajit Doval has been appointed as the National Security Adviser (NSA) for a second consecutive term and elevated to the rank of Union Cabinet Minister, according to a Personnel Ministry order.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment for a five-year period with effect from May 31, 2019 and it will be co-terminus with the term of the prime minister, it said. “During the term of his office, he will be assigned the rank of Cabinet Minister,” the order said.

Doval was in May 2014 appointed as the fifth NSA in the rank of Minister of State. He is the first National Security Adviser to get a second term. Doval has been widely hailed for his contribution in the national security domain during his last five-year tenure. He had played a key role during the Balakot air strike after the Pulwama terror attack and the cross-border surgical strike, officials said. He also drew praise for his role during the 73-day stand-off between India and China at Doklam — situated at a tri-junction between India, China and Myanmar, they said.

Doval retired in January 2005 as the chief of Intelligence Bureau. After a few years in uniform, he had worked as an intelligence officer for over 33 years during which he had served in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. Doval, a 1968-batch IPS (retired) officer, known as one of the best operational brains within intelligence circles, was Indias main negotiator with the hijackers of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 taken to Kandahar in 1999.