Indians confident of Modi's foreign policy shaped by NSA Doval

21 Sep 2016 | Written by Ramya ; Edited by Gaurav

India's position in the world has improved since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, according to US-based Pew Research Center's recent annual opinion poll.

It was found that Indians were confident of Modi's foreign policy; majority believes India doesn't have a grip on its Pakistan policy.

Modi's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval plays a crucial role in shaping the foreign policy.

In context: Ajit Doval: The Indian spymaster

IntroductionWho is Ajit Doval?

Ajit Doval, born in 1945 in Garhwal (Uttarakhand), is India's fifth National Security Adviser appointed on 30 May'14.

He graduated from the University of Agra with a Master's Degree in Economics in 1967 before joining the Indian Police Service in 1968.

He retired as the Director of the Intelligence Bureau in 2005; he previously headed the IB's operations wing for more than a decade.

Anti-InsurgencyActively involved in anti-insurgency operations

Ajit Doval had been active in anti-insurgency operations, especially in Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram, and Punjab.

In 1972, he moved from the IPS to the Intelligence Bureau where he spent thirty years.

During 1971-1999, Doval was involved in the termination of all 15 hijackings of Indian Airlines planes.

During his Intelligence Bureau tenure, he founded Multi Agency Centre and Joint Task Force on Intelligence.

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Mizo National Front insurgency

During the Mizo National Front insurgency, Ajit Doval had spent time with the insurgents in Burma and Chinese territories incognito and succeeded in winning over of six of seven MNF commanders. In 1975, Doval played a significant role during the merger of Sikkim with India.

PunjabInfiltrated a militant outfit to collect critical information

In 1988, Doval disguised himself as a rickshaw puller, entered the Golden Temple, infiltrated a Sikh separatist militant group, and collected critical information before Operation Black Thunder.

He convinced them he was a Pakistani operative helping them to establish a separate country called Khalistan.

Doval suggested cutting off electricity and water supply to the temple instead of raiding it, after which the militants surrendered.

Kashmir, PakistanRecruited militants as informants

Ajit Doval was posted at Indian High Commission in Islamabad for six years and also at IHC in London.

In 1990, he went to Kashmir where he persuaded militants and recruited them as informants to target anti-India terrorists.

Doval once stated he spent nearly seven years undercover in Pakistan, getting plastic surgeries done to conceal his ear piercings- an indication of being a Hindu.

OppositionDoval's appointment as the NSA drew criticism

The opposition criticized PM Modi's decision to pick Doval as his National Security Adviser (NSA) in 2014 that fuelled discontent inside the PM's administration.

Doval was given more power than defence and foreign affairs ministers and put him in charge of talks with Pakistan.

Supporting a nationalist agenda, Doval took a tough line against "hostile" neighbors.

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NSADoval attended a secret meeting with Sartaj Aziz

After becoming the NSA, Doval was sent as Modi's special envoy to Afghanistan; he accompanied Modi to Bhutan.

Doval was in charge of talks over the disputed Indo-Pakistan border with China as it was planning to invest in the transportation links through Kashmir on the border.

In Dec'14, he attended a secret meeting in Bangkok with Pakistani NSA Sartaj Aziz to restart peace talks.

More assertive foreign policy

Doval always argued for a "beefed up military" and "more assertive foreign policy". During a lecture in Aug'15, he said: "India has a mindset that, where it hits, it punches below its weight. We have to increase our weight and punch proportionately."

21 Sep 2016Indians confident of Modi's foreign policy shaped by NSA Doval

11 Oct 2016Ajit Doval to Pak: Stop terror, then hold talks

India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has told Pakistani NSA Naseer Janjua that the only way India and Pakistan can hold peace talks is if Pakistan stops exporting terror to India.

The message was reportedly conveyed on 1 October when Doval called Janjua to inform him of the surgical strikes.

Pakistan has been pushing for de-escalation, even as fresh terror attacks continue across Kashmir.