National Security Adviser (NSA) to Prime Minister Modi, Ajit Kumar Doval, who turned 75 on January 20 has donned the title of 'Indian James Bond' following his stint as a spy. The highly decorated IPS officer of Kerala Cadre, who now heads the National Security Council has dealt with the country's most complex international and domestic security challenges.
Known as the significant brain behind India's security and military apparatus under the Modi regime, the fifth and the current NSA spent seven years as a secret agent in Pakistan. In one of the most significant stints, Ajit Doval, as an undercover operative in Pakistan worked to gather intelligence and terror activities, with Dawood Ibrahim, known to be on his constant radar.
Retired as the Director Intelligence Bureau in January 2005, Ajit Doval lived in Pakistan's Lahore, disguised as a Muslim for seven years. During his years in the country, he befriended the locals visiting mosques and lived among the predominantly Muslim population. Acknowledged as a master of psychological welfare, Ajit Doval, as a part of his job also spied on Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI.
As an secret agent, he gathered intel of the terror plans of Pakistani-based terrorists, available reinforcements, further, uncovered weapons and hideouts. Proficient with his negotiation tactics, Doval, during his time strategically lured his way into a militant group called Kukkay Parey, wherein he reportedly cajoled them into turning moles of their own terror organisation, which paved the way for elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sharing an incident from his time in Pakistan, he said that he was once identified as a Hindu by a local from his pierced ears. Doval then underwent plastic surgery to prevent his cover from blowing. Narrating his account, Doval shared, "I was coming back from a Masjid. A man sitting in the corner, who had an intriguing personality and a white beard, called me. He asked, are you a Hindu? I replied saying no. He asked me to come with him, and took me to a small room and shut the door. He told me, 'See you are a Hindu. Your ears are pierced.' The place I come from, as a child there is a tradition to pierce the ear. I told him it was pierced when I was born. He told me, get plastic surgery of this, it's not safe to walk like that. Then I got it (plastic surgery) done."
In the late 1980s. Doval snuck inside the Golden Temple posing as a Pakistani agent to the Khalistani militants and passed significant information during Operation Black Thunder in 1988. After his stint as an undercover agent, Doval worked in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. A close-associate of PM Modi, Doval is also responsible for master-minding the surgical strike in 2016.