Ajit Doval was born on 20 January 1945, in Ghiri Banelsyun village which is now in the Uttarakhand state. Being born in an army family, Doval was educated in the Ajmer Military School. He also has an economics degree from Agra University. He began his career in the army by joining as an IPS officer in 1968 in the Kerala cadre.
Hero of Operation Bluestar:
Doval entered the Golden Temple in disguise before Operation Bluestar. He somehow convinced militant religious leader, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his men that he was a Pakistani spy. He then gained information about their strategy, positions, reinforcements and other valuable intel. This information played a vital role in the defeat of the terrorists in the temple.
Successfully released all the hostages in IC 814 hijack:
In 1999, an Indian Airlines plane(IC-814) was hijacked from Katmandu en route to Delhi. The terrorists eventually flew the plane to Kandahar in Afghanistan. Ajit Doval flew to Kandahar as the lead negotiator and successfully secured the release of all hostages onboard the plane.
Doval has in fact been involved in the resolution of all 15 of Indian Airlines hijackings between the years 1971-1999.
Deep insights about Pakistan and Kashmir
Doval is said to have deep knowledge about Pakistan as he lived there undercover for seven years. He also served in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad for a period of 6 years.
Doval was the chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in 2004-2005. He previously headed its operations wing for more than ten years. He was the chairman as well as the founder of the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC), and the Joint Task Force on Intelligence (JTFI).In addition, Doval had also previously served in the Indian high commission in the UK.
Doval is said to have played a key role in the peace process in Kashmir during the troubled times in the 1990s. He converted hardline separatists like Kuka Parray to become counter-insurgents and help India’s cause in the troubled valley. His efforts led to the environment for the state elections in 1996.
Effectively handling the Mizo insurgency:
During the height of the secessionist movement in Mizoram, Doval went undercover and convinced 6 of the 7 commanders of the Mizo National Front to surrender effectively breaking the backbone of the separatist movement in Mizoram.
Establishing a think tank called Vivekananda International Foundation:
Following his retirement from the IB (Intelligence Bureau), Ajit Doval focussed his energies on the establishment and working of the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a think-tank based in New Delhi. The foundation seems to be a top choice for the Modi administration with the P.Ms principle private secretary, Nripendra Mishra, and additional private secretary P.K Mishra both coming from the VIF. In addition, well-known economist Bibek Debroy, now a member of the NITI Aaayog was also associated with the VIF.
Role as a National Security Advisor
In 2014, Ajit Doval was appointed as National Security Advisor (NSA) by PM Modi and has emerged as a key advisor. In the same year, Doval flew on a secret mission to Iraq and secured the release of 46 nurses from ISIS. In 2015, the Indian Army conducted a covert cross-border raid to neutralize terrorists working from Myanmar. The raid or counter-terrorism strike was highly successful and considered to be a brainchild of Doval. He is also said to have played a key role in the fall of the pro-China, Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Doval is credited with bringing about significant changes in India’s Security policy to make it an aggressive, dynamic and bold one. The recently conducted “surgical strikes” and India’s bold response to Chinese aggression in the Doklam plateau region provide ample proof of this change in policy.
Ajit Doval is considered to be India’s James Bond and Henry Kissinger rolled into one person. He has extensive experience in both intelligence and diplomacy. His wealth of experience regarding counter-terrorism activities will go a long way in securing our country’s borders.
Doval retired in 2005 ending a glorious and award-filled career.
He was awarded the police medal within a short span of 6 years against usual 17 years and was the youngest officer to win the award. He also received the President’s police medal. He was also awarded the Kirti Chakra, one of the most prestigious gallantry awards and was the first police officer to receive the award previously given only to military officers.