The newly reelected Narendra Modi government has reappointed Ajit Doval to his post of national security advisor. Doval’s rank will reportedly be upgraded from that of a minister of state to a cabinet minister. Last week, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who served as foreign secretary during Modi’s first tenure, and formerly as India’s ambassador to the US and to China, was appointed the union minister for external affairs. Jaishankar—once a contender for Doval’s job—has long differed with the NSA on his approaches to foreign policy.
In “Undercover,” the cover story of The Caravan’s September 2017 issue, Praveen Donthi reported that there had even been suggestions of friction between the two. “Doval is a policeman, with a very law-and-order approach, and doesn’t look at the long-term point of view,” a senior diplomatic correspondent told Donthi. Jaishankar “looks at things like a diplomat.” But, the correspondent continued, “The diplomats of other countries in our neighbourhood, including China, don’t really have any respect for Doval and Jaishankar as they are seen not as diplomats with a vision but as apparatchiks.”
In an interview in January 2014, when asked of his rumoured connections to the BJP, Doval responded, “I am not a member of any political party, have never been. I don’t think I’d like to accept any position in any government.”