Modi exhibits ‘risk-taking at the highest level’: NSA Doval in new book on PM

The book titled Modi@20: Dreams meet Delivery has been edited by BlueKraft Digital Foundation and is being published by Rupa Publications.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi completed 20 years in public office last year. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi completed 20 years in public office last year. (PTI)
Updated on Mar 16, 2022 02:33 AM IST
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ByDeeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi

At the core of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “style and direction” for counter-terror and counter-strike operations is the ability to adapt and surprise the enemy by exhibiting “risk-taking at the highest level”, writes national security advisor Ajit Doval in a new book that’s been brought out to celebrate 20 years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in public office. The book titled Modi@20: Dreams meet Delivery. will be out next month and has chapters written by home Minister Amit Shah, minister of external affairs S. Jaishankar, national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Nandan Nilenkani, Arvind Panagariya, Ashok Gulati, Sudha Murthy, the late Lata Mangeshkar, PV Sindhu and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. It has been edited by BlueKraft Digital Foundation and is being published by Rupa Publications.

The PM completed 20 years in public office last year.

In an excerpt reviewed by HT, Doval describes how the Prime Minister dealt with the Uri terror attack in September of 2016 where terrorists breached the defences of the army’s 12 Infantry Brigade base and killed 19 personnel. 10 days later, India carried out what has now become known as a surgical strike, hitting targets across the Line of Control. “In the response to Uri 2016, a few aspects stand out,” writes Doval. “One, it was a simultaneous operation by multiple strike teams at four disparate locations and extended across a vast geographical boundary.”

The second aspect, according to the NSA, is that the strikes were a political call taken by the Prime Minister, “which meant he was taking responsibility not only for success, but also for failure”. “This exhibited risk-taking at the highest level — a quality shown by very few. Third, it generated chaos, panic and confusion by creating the enemy is everywhere syndrome,” Doval writes.

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According to Doval, the strike was so effective that the then Pakistan leadership “castigated its ground formations for failing to block even one strike team”, despite having a large number of forward deployed troops. The NSA then goes on to differentiate the incident from the aerial strike conducted post the attack in Pulwama in 2019. Nearly 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, 2019. The attack on the CRPF convoy prompted India to carry out an airstrike in Pakistan’s Balakot and brought the two countries to the verge of war.

“When it comes to the response to Pulwana, 2019, the one aspect of the Balakot counter-strike was that it was very different from other counter-terror, counter strikes undertaken by India,” he writes. “We had been responding to terror strikes in the ground domain. It was the first time an aerial strike was conceived and implemented with finesse, in the bargain also blowing away the myth of Pakistan nuclear bargain.”

Doval goes on to add that if any adversary attacks India’s core interests, there will be counters. “Domain and level will not be limiting factors,” he writes. “That said, the post-Uri strikes were different, and Balakot was different from the post-Ur strike. Tomorrow it may be different from both. This remains at the core of the Prime Minister’s style of thinking and directions.”

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Sunday, June 26, 2022