Members of the Vivekananda International Foundation are thrilled that the national security advisor and principal secretary to the prime minister are from its ranks, reports Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com.
Ajit Doval as National Security Advisor and Nripendra Misha as principal secretary to the prime minister were two important appointments Narendra Modi made after taking charge as the prime minister.
While both Doval and Mishra have exceptional credentials, they are also part of a leading think tank in New Delhi — the Vivekananda International Foundation.
Located at New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, VIF comprises academicians, army, air force and intelligence personnel, and diplomats.
Ajit Doval, who retired as the chief of the Intelligence Bureau in 2005, is the director of this institute, while Mishra is part of its executive council.
R Vaidyanathan, professor (finance) and UTI chair professor in the area of capital market studies at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, who is a member of the advisory committee at VIF, says Doval and Mishra were chosen not because they were from the VIF, but because of their credentials and expertise.
“They are both exceptional officers who have proved themselves in their respective fields. It is incidental that they are from the VIF and I must say that this is a feather in the cap for our institution.”
Explaining why the VIF was established, Professor Vaidyanathan said there was a lack of understanding of core issues that ranged from terrorism to black money. Most think tanks in the capital were either Left-oriented or leaned towards socialism.
“In 1970 Noorul Hassan, who was minister of state for education, had created several centres across the country filled with leftist ideologues. He was a sharp strategist and his intention was that for the next 20 years professors from across the country would encourage Left-leaning students,” said Vaidyanathan.
“This was discussed and debated among us several times and we concluded on forming an alternate forum of discourse. That is how VIF came into existence. VIF has given a good platform for non-leftists who can take part in lectures and talks. Delhi never had any such forum for non-leftists. The VIF was also blessed by both (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee and (BJP patriarch) L K Advani. The organisation has been providing meaningful insights to people,” added Vaidyanathan.
The VIF website states that it is an independent, non-partisan institution that promotes quality research and in-depth studies. It says it is platform for dialogue and conflict resolution that strives to bring together the best minds in India to ideate on key national and international issues.
A Distinguished Fellow at VIF and a former boss of the Research and Analysis Wing says the organisation is committed to national interest. “We are a think tank with a difference. We have top people coming from across the world to share and discuss with us. The USP of VIF is national interest and it does not cater to any political line.”
Who is Nripendra Mishra
Described as an outstanding Indian Administrative Officer, Mishra has been the former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. At VIF he is part of the executive council. His friends at VIF say he has wide exposure to administration and is a man with a clear head who will take everyone along. He is known to be objective and has a great capacity to deliver.
A 1967 batch IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, he has held several important positions. He was a crucial witness in the 2G scam case. During the hearing he disputed (former telecom minister) A Raja’s claim that the regulator had recommended the first-come-first-serve basis for spectrum allocation. During the Do-Not-Call service issue he was quoted as saying the TRAI has the teeth to chew not to bite.
Who is Ajit Doval
A highly decorated officer and former director of the Intelligence Bureau, he is an IPS officer from the Kerala cadre. Many from his batch say that he has the nose of a bloodhound to sniff out a terrorist. His friends at the VIF are very excited about him being the NSA.
They say that as far as national security is concerned, they cannot rate anyone higher from the present crop of officers for the job. They say he is a complete package of professionalism and on national security matters. He also has a great deal of international acceptability. Doval can drive the NSA from being a foreign services post to one that drives the national security agenda. Ajit Doval is a practitioner who can operationalise things.
Image: The Vivekananda International Foundation at New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri