Wednesday, 25 May, 2022
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Modi’s ‘James Bond’ Ajit Doval comes out in the open to keep Kashmir calm

NSA Ajit Doval has shattered the staid image of national security advisers sitting in New Delhi and giving instructions.

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Two days after the Narendra Modi government announced its decision to abrogate Article 370, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s ‘biryani moment’ in Kashmir went viral Wednesday.

In the video, NSA Doval can be seen interacting with the locals and having what seems to be biryani in Shopian, a district in south Kashmir believed to be the ground zero of terror in the Valley.

In another carefully put out video from the series, Doval is seen talking to the Jammu & Kashmir Police personnel as well as those from central paramilitary forces.

All this while Kashmir is under lockdown.

Possibly for the first time, NSA Doval, who is described by many in the Capital’s power corridors as Narendra Modi’s ‘James Bond’ and prefers to stay in the shadows, is part of a very public exercise of sending a strong signal to everyone that there is calm in Kashmir and he is in control.

And by doing so, Doval has also shattered the staid image that people associate with national security advisers.

His predecessors, such as Brajesh Mishra, M.K. Narayanan and Shivshankar Menon, always worked behind-the-scenes. They were known to give directions, sitting in New Delhi, based on inputs from the ground and the service chiefs.

But under the Narendra Modi government, the NSA’s visibility has increased manifold and Doval is now seen as part of the Centre’s peace-keeping apparatus in Kashmir.

Also read: What Modi didn’t say but meant – govt’s take-over would end Islamisation of Kashmir

A signal to security forces

Doval, a veteran intelligence officer, hit the ground running Monday by flying to Srinagar just hours after Home Minister Amit Shah announced in Parliament that Article 370, which gave special status to J&K, was scrapped and the state was divided into two union territories.

His presence in Kashmir sent a message to the security forces, especially the J&K state police, that the government will stand with them. In case of a law and order situation in the Valley, it is the state police that will bear the maximum brunt.

It was Doval himself, say sources, who suggested that he should go to Kashmir and take stock of the security situation. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah agreed to this.

The Operations Man

Three people, say sources, were involved in the final decision-making over abrogation of Article 370 and division of the state into two UTs.

While PM Modi lent his political weight to the decision, the home minister was entrusted with the task of getting the legislation passed in Parliament. The third concern was security and law and order and Doval assured that the situation can be handled.

Doval, the ‘Operations Man’, is now on the ground to execute the government’s plan for Kashmir, from a security perspective. Defence and security analysts see his presence in Kashmir as a positive move by the government.

He had visited Kashmir last month too, following which additional troops were rushed to the Valley. With Doval in Kashmir, decision-making is swift. Security forces Thursday shifted 70 terrorists and separatists from Kashmir to Agra’s central jail.

Also read: With Kashmir move, Modi has ensured map-making comes to an end in subcontinent


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