Doval stays put as NSA, gets Cabinet rank

Gurugram: National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval during the 80th Raising Day celebrations of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Gurugram, on March 19, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor.

New Delhi: The all-powerful National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval has been given a Cabinet rank in the Modi government.

Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief, Doval will continue as NSA for the next five years as per his reappointment terms, sources revealed to IANS.

In its first innings, the Modi government conducted two important anti-terror operations under Doval's watch. In 2016, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack, while in 2018, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted airstrikes in Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack.

Doval also played a crucial role in solving the Doklam stand off between India and China, which almost created a war-like situation on the country's northeast border.

Sources said that Doval and newly-appointed External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar would be the two prominent faces of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the diplomatic and strategic fronts, both having vast experience in South East and South Asian strategic affairs.

Doval and Jaishankar earlier played a key role for India in bringing the Obama administration closer to Modi.

Doval's deep understanding and execution of counter-terror operations and his stint in Pakistan as India's top intelligence sleuth are seen as vital assets for the country's security.

In an exclusive on May 29, IANS broke the story that Doval, one of Prime Minister Modi's most able advisors, would remain the NSA.

Amid speculation on whether he would be appointed the defence minister or the Ambassador to the US, the story said: "He is in many ways the PM's eyes and ears on security-related issues and sources close to the developments dismissed his move from the PMO completely."

The National Security Advisor is the chief advisor to the Prime Minister of India for national and international security policy. The position which is one of the most powerful among bureaucrats was created in 1998 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

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