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Spymaster Ajit Doval gets record 3rd term as NSA, PK Mishra to stay as principal secretary to PM

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NEW DELHI: Spymaster Ajit Doval and seasoned bureaucrat P K Mishra were on Thursday re-appointed as National Security Adviser and principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, respectively, for a five-year term.

With the latest appointment, Doval has got a record third term at the top post dealing with crucial matters related to the country’s security.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the two key appointments with effect from June 10, 2024, the Personnel Ministry said.

Their appointment “will be co-terminus with the term of the prime minister or until further orders whichever is earlier”, it said in identical orders.

Both Doval and Mishra will be assigned the rank of Cabinet Minister in the Table of Precedence and terms and conditions of their appointment will be notified separately, the ministry said.

Doval, who belongs to the 1968 batch of Indian Police Service of Kerala cadre, retired as Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief in 2005. He was appointed as the NSA for the first time on May 30, 2014, and re-appointed for another five-year term on May 31, 2019.

During his first tenure, Doval is believed to have played a pivotal role in the surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir after the Uri terror attack.

He has also been widely hailed for his contribution to the national security domain, including his role during the Balakot (Pakistan) air strike after the Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir) terror attack, officials said.

Doval, 79, was one of the main negotiators from India with the hijackers of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 taken to Kandahar in 1999.

He worked with the IB for more than 33 years in different roles and in areas including the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Punjab. He served in the United Kingdom as well.

Both Doval and Mishra are considered as top close aides of Modi.

As the NSA, Doval is responsible for all national security-related issues while Mishra will be dealing with administrative issues, including the appointments done by Modi-led ACC, the officials said.

A veteran bureaucrat, Mishra has held various key positions at the Centre and in the Gujarat government.

He served as additional principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Modi’s first term as the Prime Minister from 2014 to 2019.

Mishra, a 1972 batch retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Gujarat cadre, was re-appointed to the same post with effect from May 31, 2019, during Modi’s second term.

In September 2019, he was appointed as the principal secretary to the PM. His term was on a co-terminus basis with Modi’s tenure.

Mishra, 75, had also served between 2001 and 2004 as the principal secretary to Modi when he was the Gujarat chief minister.

He worked as the secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture between December 1, 2006 and August 31, 2008.

After his retirement, Mishra was appointed the chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission for a five-year term.

Meanwhile, the ACC has also approved the reappointment of former Indian Administrative Service officers Amit Khare and Tarun Kapoor as advisers to the PM for two years, effective June 10, 2024.

Khare, a 1985 batch retired IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre, was in October 2021 appointed as adviser to Modi for two years. His tenure was extended last year on a co-terminus basis with the PM’s term.

Kapoor, a 1987 batch retired IAS officer of the Himachal Pradesh cadre, was named the adviser in May 2022 for a two-year term. (PTI)

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