Ajit Doval, India’s fifth and current National Security Advisor (NSA) celebrates his 75th birthday today. The highly decorated retired IPS officer is known as the superspy of India. In an illustrious career in intelligence operations, he led from the front on several occasions. Considered a superspy, Doval showed his worth way back in 1986 itself. As a field agent, he had successfully combated insurgency in the Northeast.
Among several exploits against his name, the highlight of his career has to be his stint as an undercover agent in Pakistan, during which he posed as a Pakistani Muslim in Lahore. After a year stint as a covert agent, he spent the next years of his stay in Pakistan working in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
A particular anecdote narrated by Doval himself manifests his sheer adroitness and how he managed to stay incognito in Pakistan for such a long period. He had once been encountered by a respected Muslim cleric outside a Mosque in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Despite Doval’s repeated denials, the Muslim cleric had insisted that Doval was a Hindu and not a Muslim. Doval’s pierced ears, a practice peculiar to some Hindu pockets in India had almost given away his identity. However, the Muslim cleric was a Hindu all of whose family had been killed in Pakistan. Doval had thus thinly escaped the possibility of getting exposed in Pakistan.
The incident, however, reveals the dangerous and treacherous circumstances in which Doval managed to stay as an undercover intelligence agent in the Islamic country and also return unscathed to India.
It was because of such unbelievable exploits that Doval later earned the reputation of a superspy and India’s real-life James Bond. After his appointment as the NSA, Pakistan continues to fear him for his sheer expertise and skill in tackling Pakistani terrorism and also his policy of offensive defence that seeks to make good use of the faultlines within the terrorist country.
Shortly after Doval’s appointment as the NSA in the year 2015, one of Doval’s old videos had gone viral in Pakistan. In this video, Doval could be heard explaining his doctrine of offensive defence. In his speech made in February 2014 at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Ajit Doval threatened to split Pakistan if another terror attack on the lines of 26/ 11 took place.
Doval didn’t mince words, and categorically said, “Let Pakistan know, you can do one Mumbai, you may lose Balochistan.” Owing to this video, Doval became the talking point of prime-time shows in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Doval’s appointment had created ripples in the Pakistani establishment. In the subsequent years, Pakistan’s fears came true as India adopted the strategy of imposing heavy costs on Pakistan every time the latter fomented terrorism against India. The 2016 Surgical Strikes carried out by the Indian Army in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the Balakot airstrikes carried out by the IAF deep inside Pakistani territory came as a clear pronouncement of Doval’s offensive defence doctrine. On his seventy-fifth birthday, Doval, therefore, remains the biggest source of fear in Pakistan.