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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Next NSA? Narendra Modi chats up Ajit Doval

Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 20, 2014
First Published: 00:25 IST(20/5/2014) | Last Updated: 08:47 IST(20/5/2014)

In the process of picking the national security adviser (NSA), the most powerful person in the security establishment, PM-designate Narendra Modi on Monday met one of India’s finest intelligence professionals, Ajit Doval, for more than an hour at Delhi’s Gujarat Bhavan. Doval is the former director, Intelligence Bureau.

Modi discussed with him Kashmir, internal security, and the neighbourhood and beyond. Doval, a topper of IPS 1968 batch from Kerala cadre, has served with distinction in Mizoram, Punjab, Kashmir, Pakistan and the UK.

He is the chairman of Vivekananda International Foundation, a security and diplomatic think-tank based in Chanakyapuri.

Doval met BJP president Rajnath Singh after meeting the PM-designate.

The Modi-led BJP government is fast acquiring shape. On Monday, the PM-designate focused on key bureaucratic appointments and met prospective candidates for the jobs of NSA, principal secretary and cabinet secretary.

Senior sources told HT that Doval is being considered for NSA or minister of state for internal security if PM Modi wants a diplomat to be his adviser in the PMO. “If Modi wants to project economic diplomacy and a softer face, then the names under consideration are former UN envoy Hardeep Singh Puri, former foreign secretary, Kanwal Sibal and India’s ambassador to the US S Jaishankar,” said a senior BJP leader.

After meeting Doval, Modi is learnt to have met for over an hour Anil Baijal, former Union home secretary and the man behind the launch of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban

Renewal Mission (JNURM) as urban development secretary. Baijal was removed as the home secretary in 2004 by the UPA government as he was perceived to be close to former deputy prime minister LK Advani and the Vajpayee government.

A 1969-batch officer of UT cadre, Baijal has had an illustrious career, having served as chairman of Indian Airlines, CEO of Prasar Bharati and vice chairman of the Delhi Development Authority. Modi apparently discussed governance issues with Baijal.

Former TRAI chairman and 1967 batch UP cadre officer Nirpendra Misra met Modi after Baijal and discussed economic plans.

Apart from Baijal and Misra, former Gujarat cadre officers PK Mishra (of the 1976 batch who was Modi’s principal secretary in 2001 and retired as Union agriculture secretary), and Sanjiv Mishra (of the 1972 batch who retired as Union expenditure secretary), are in line for the job of PM’s principal secretary.

With cabinet secretary Ajit Seth retiring next month, Modi held consultations over who will replace him. The names being considered are PK Sinha, a 1977-batch officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, who is the Union power secretary, and Saurabh Chandra, 1978-batch UP cadre officer who is the petroleum secretary.

While Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami briefed Modi on firing in the Akhnoor sector of Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday morning in which one jawan was killed and two others injured, a PMO joint secretary briefed Modi on governor vacancies. A meeting was held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, attended by top home ministry officials, on Modi’s swearing-in later this week and his meeting with the President on Tuesday. ”


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