The spymaster being termed as India’s combo of George Smiley and Henry Kissinger before becoming Modi’s 007 is in Kashmir at the moment. His visit has come in the backdrop of what Delhi says “rising radicalisation” of Kashmiri youth. He is Ajit Doval.
During his two-day visit beginning Tuesday, Doval, the incumbent national security adviser is likely to access and devise strategy with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on “checking radicalization of youth”. Besides Sayeed, Doval is meeting Governor NN Vohra, army and para-military force commanders to get firsthand accounts on security situation of valley.
Modi’s most trusted aide and one of India’s top intelligence minds (who worries Sri Lanka and spooks Pakistan’s ISI), Doval is visiting valley at that time when Delhi is already “chalking out a plan” to deal with what it calls “radicalisation” of youth. New Delhi-based analysts are already sounding like ‘prophets of doom’ over frequent unfurling of Pak and ISIS flags in Kashmir. What lately is making them edgy is the viral photo and video of gun-trotting home-grown guerrillas from the jungles of restive Tral.
Already, it was made public that some security experts are on way to Kashmir to manage breakthrough in the ‘dangerously’ perceived development. For this, union home secretary LC Goyal had already entrusted this task to special secretary (internal security) Ashok Prasad, who happens to be the former top cop of the state. Besides Prasad, the former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director, Asif Ibrahim, known for his works on “de-radicalisation” is also expected to visit valley.
But Doval is the boss. His current status apart, Doval has handled Kashmir for a long time. The 1945-born security expert was associated almost in every theatre of India’s security operations since 1980s.
Son of a soldier, Doval is an IPS officer from the 1968 batch of the Kerala cadre. He was actively involved in the anti-insurgency operations in Mizoram, Punjab and Kashmir. In 1999, Doval was India’s main negotiator with the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in Kandahar. He was chosen for the task as he was involved in the termination of 15 hijackings of Indian Airlines aircraft from 1971-1999.
The brain behind the success of Operation Blue Star in Punjab, Doval has reportedly lived undercover in Pakistan for 7 years posing as a Pakistani Muslim in Lahore. He was active in Kashmir during the tumultuous years of nineties.
The creation of Kuka Parray as the top anti-hero in Kashmir is considered to be Doval’s operation. Armed with “militant psycho profiles”, he was able to guide Parray (whom he met in early nineties) and his gang to become the Ikhwanis, a phenomenon Kashmir may never forget.
Before Doval persuaded Parray, Delhi was unsure about the result on face of the difficult political situation. But, the coup even made Doval’s staunchest critics within the security grid his fans.
This “divide and rule” initiative was created to undercut the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahedeen which by mid-nineties had successfully displaced the Kashmiri nationalist JKLF.
Parray and his outfit Ikhwan-e-Muslimoon neutralised top militant commanders in Kashmir with army’s backing. Turning Parray was a political victory for both Doval as well as Delhi as it paved way for 1996 assembly elections. Parray became an MLA, but was later killed in a militant ambush.
The youngest police officer ever to get police medal, Doval retired as Director Intelligence Bureau on January 31, 2005. It was because of the legend of his operations, tactics and strategies that earned him prized post of National Security Adviser to PM Modi early this year.
Other than his reputation as a “pre-eminent spook”, who openly warned Pakistan—“You can do one Mumbai, you may lose Balochistan”, Doval is being credited for transforming India’s “defensive” posture, under the UPA, to an “offensive-defensive” one, according to his recent profile.
Armoured with all these experiences, it is believed that the NSA during his ongoing visit to Kashmir is likely to discuss “growing attraction” of Kashmiri youth towards “Islamic State (IS) ideology”. Besides, many in Delhi are feeling jittery over Kashmiri youth’s growing “romanticism” for guns. They fear if the trend won’t be stopped immediately, it could lead to political violence in the future.
Earlier Doval would believe India was suffering from “exported terrorism” in Kashmir. But now, the equation on the ground seemingly has changed on face of home-grown militancy in Kashmir. Now, wait and watch the emergence of a new security doctrine for Kashmir.