National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is one of the most important people of India. The same was first revealed when he was accorded a Cabinet rank by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. An unparalleled national security eagle, Doval played a pivotal role during the 2016 Surgical Strikes and the 2019 Balakot airstrikes. The man has earned the trust of PM Modi perhaps like nobody else, and this makes him a high-value target for Islamists and terrorists – whose life has been made miserable of late by the NSA.
Security agencies were sent in a tizzy recently, after the arrest of important terrorist of Lashkar-e-Mustafa, Hidayat-Ullah Malik. The LeM is a front organisation of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Malik – a resident of Shopian has been one of the most valued terrorists which security forces have got their hands on recently.
On Saturday, sources were quoted as saying that during the interrogation of Malik by the J&K Police, it was revealed that he had extensively recced important locations and installations in the national capital, and passed on high-level intelligence to his Pakistani handlers.
Among the venues where reconnaissance was conducted by Hidayat-Ullah Malik were the residence and office of NSA Ajit Doval, Sardar Patel Bhawan – which houses the National Security Council Secretariat and other installations.
According to the Hindustan Times, the possible threat to the NSA Ajit Doval has been conveyed to security agencies and the Union Home Ministry. Sources said that Hidayat told interrogators that, on May 24, 2019, he took an Indigo flight from Srinagar to New Delhi to record a video of the NSA’s office, including the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security detail there, and passed it on through WhatsApp to his Pakistan-based handler. The handler was described simply as “Doctor”.
A case – FIR number 15/2021 under Section 18 and 20 UAP Act has been registered against Malik at the Gangyal police station in Jammu. The Jaish-e-Mohammad, particularly, harbours a special hatred for Ajit Doval. In 1994, after the arrest of Masood Azhar, it was Doval who interrogated him as Joint Director of Intelligence Bureau. He also escorted Azhar to the Kandahar airport in 1999, during the hijacking of IC-814.
Following the revelations, the security of Ajit Doval, his house and office were beefed up. Doval remains one of the most highly protected individuals in India. It was Ajit Doval, who as the National Security Adviser after 2014, brought a paradigm shift in India’s defence and security and military doctrine.
While historically after Independence, India maintained a defensive security outlook, Ajit Doval turned the same around to a ‘defensive-offence’ doctrine. This made life living hell for Pakistan and Islamists within India, which is why he remains a target for them.