NSA Ajit Doval underlines use of power: India should stop punching below its weight

Doval said: “India has a mentality to punch below its weight. We should not punch below our weight or above our weight, but improve our weight and punch proportionately.”

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Updated: August 5, 2015 8:11 am
Ajit Doval, NSA Ajit Doval, Ajit Doval Yakub Memon, Yakub Memon, National Security Adviso, Ajit Doval, Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture, Abdul Basit, Yakub Memon, Yakub Memon hanging, Indian express, Yakub memon Shahi Tharoor, Shashi tharoor, India news National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday said India needed to stop punching “below its weight” and “punch proportionately” instead.

Delivering the 21st Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture on ‘State Security, Statecraft and Conflict of Values’ in Mumbai, a day after he oversaw the signing of a peace accord with Naga insurgents, Doval said: “India has a mentality to punch below its weight. We should not punch below our weight or above our weight, but improve our weight and punch proportionately.”

He said India had to create a deterrence against attacks on its soil. “If you make a provocation, you are partly responsible. But if you are not able to exercise power, it is as good as not having it… There is no point of having Rs 50,000 in your pocket if you starve to death.”

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Referring to his phone call to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on July 15 as tensions escalated on the border, the NSA said it was “not right” to suggest that he had bypassed the Ministry of External Affairs.

“Pakistan had started firing. It was necessary to tell them without loss of time that you stop, or we will retaliate. It was five minutes past 7 in the morning.” He paused and then added: “Mrs Sushma Swaraj was not there at that time.”

“There is a conflict between important and immediate. But when there is convergence of important and immediate and there is still bureaucratic interference, you do not deserve to be where you are,” he said.

Quoting from the Gita and the Quran, Doval sought to explain the dilemma one faces between “individual morality” and the “value system of the state”.

“State is necessary. If it is necessary, protecting itself will be its supreme role. Individual morality cannot be inflicted on the larger interest of society. The nation will have to take recourse to all means to protect itself. And in this, it cannot afford to subjugate what is in its long-term interest,” he said.

He drew on his personal experience to illustrate that values of the state have to be put above personal values. “I come from a uttarakhand Brahmin family which is vegetarian. I was posted for seven years in the North-East and for another seven years in Pakistan. I was not fond of non-vegetarian food, but I had to eat it at times. Should there be clash of values, the higher values (of the state) is selfless.”

Doval, who was in Mumbai the day the 1993 serial blasts convict Yakub Memon was executed and his body transported from Nagpur to Mumbai, disapproved of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s remarks in the aftermath of the hanging — he didn’t name Tharoor though.

“In the evening last Thursday (the day of the hanging), somebody tweeted me a statement by an important leader that — State-sponsored killing diminishes us all by reducing us to murderers too… I am not going into the propriety, exigency or the correctness of the statement. There is something which is in public interest, in the larger interests of the nation and of generations of Indians yet to take birth,” he said.

Elaborating on the instruments available with the state, he said “the first duty of Government of India is to protect itself. In this protection, conflict of interest is automatic… When state acts in a judicial way in the due process of law, its actions are correct, and it does not reduce you to murderers.”

During a question and answer session later, he rejected theories that Yakub Memon had been executed because the government could not apprehend his brother Tiger Memon. “It is not this or that,” Doval said, “Tiger Memon is a standalone. And Yakub Memon is a standalone.”

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First Published on: August 5, 2015 5:32 am
  1. S
    Sivaraman
    Aug 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm
    “stan had started firing. It was necessary to tell them without loss of time that you stop, or we will retaliate. Why should we tell them and retaliate, when they started the firing? It makes no sense sir! Also another article somewhere else points to conflict between army and Drdo on arjun tanks! Can't you make both chief's sit together and sort out!
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    1. R
      Raj
      Aug 5, 2015 at 6:43 am
      Very good. Have the same approach on right wing militants also. Other wise they will sink India
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      1. A
        Arvind
        Aug 5, 2015 at 9:31 am
        We are really fortunate to have Ajit Doval as NSA.He knows how to punch and where to punch when our nation is provoked by enemy.From beginning as IB officer he was et to Govt of India .During his time, IB was at peak but without knowledge of Public.Both stani authorities and AD know each other very well short he is Narendra Modi's 007., He is the most reliable,honest,sincere and above all dashing NSA to take quick and correct decision.
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        1. S
          SK
          Aug 5, 2015 at 9:05 am
          Very good Mr. Doval. People like Shashi Taroor are intellect waste. To compare Yakub and the state shows bankruptcy of his thought because he is with the company of mere sycophants. I am proud of you and I know you will take care of these terrorists in your own time. Congress is impotent and would not do anything against any provocation. Let us hope Modi's dream of India without congress comes true.
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          1. G
            Gary Zaetz
            Aug 5, 2015 at 9:37 am
            What a hypocrite this man is ! NSA Ajit Doval is probably the one man most responsible for India's ultra-timid policy of meekly giving in to China's demands that the recovery of US airmen who lost their lives in India during World War II not be resumed.
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              Gopal
              Aug 5, 2015 at 9:59 am
              India's ability punch has been limited by our self hating left wing elites. For instance no other country in the world would tolerate a party like CPM that supports China. I have seen how slavish CPI was towards Soviet Union where they could do no wrong until they collapsed. For more than 20 years we faced terrorism from stan everyday and yet newspapers would editorialize how it was a failure of intelligence or a failure of army. Things changed only after 9/11 when people saw the difficulty in fighting against terrorism, especially if the terrorist is planning to commit suicide. Ultimately this is a product of a colonial mentality when we were told how bad our culture was, how bad our religion was and how bad we were. It lives on in our academic insutes, think tanks and most importantly in media. People often think of the poor opinion regarding India in the world. If you read major newspapers in USA and England, you will discover a collection of Indian writers presenting India exclusively in a bad light. It is this internal weakness that has kept India on the back foot for the last 60 years and prevented us from getting our just due.
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                Gruham Bendakaluru
                Aug 5, 2015 at 10:14 am
                Those people who advocate peace, ahimsa or abolishing death penalty have never seen or been victims of terrorist violence. These fellows are hypocrites and will say or do anything to satisfy their personal benefits. The moment they or any of their kin is directly affected by terrorist violence, they will flip and speak the opposite of their current opinions. Even if he is a bit hawkish for some peoples tastes, we need more people like Doval at least for the short term, in which the decades old unjustified religious and territorial tolerance is rectified.
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                1. L
                  Lovely
                  Aug 5, 2015 at 9:33 pm
                  CPM supported China in 1962 war.They hate Israel--- and advised Congis and went on strikes to stop purchases from Israel, but for Israel ,loses in Kargil war could have mounted .
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                  1. J
                    JM
                    Aug 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm
                    Ajith Doval, its not your duty to talk. You are over stepping. It should be Rajnath or Parikar who should be talking. When a beurocrat starts talking like this, his political madters should be careful.
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                      Joyjeet Chowdhury
                      Aug 5, 2015 at 8:40 am
                      He's my kind of guy, cut to cut, Straight forward, and diplomatic. No mix, no corruption. India is actually secured by these people gives a higher sense of stability
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                      1. J
                        Joyjeet Chowdhury
                        Aug 5, 2015 at 8:43 am
                        Nuke dettorance is a concept. Don't forget kargil.
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                        1. K
                          Karthik Bvm
                          Nov 17, 2015 at 6:10 pm
                          Joji bhai, Did it occur to you that letting all this talking is also a strategy? The leaders are letting the tiger roar. They want to make a statement that we are not afraid of your dogs, we have a tiger in our fence.
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                          1. K
                            Krishan Yadava
                            Aug 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm
                            The best article on State Policy. It was nice to see that finally we have a Government that has busted the myth and aura created by the Congress about the Best Option before India being that of practicing Non - Violence and Non - Alignment. We must never loose sight of the fact that after the Second World War the British Empire was crumbling and the Britishers never did us any favor by leaving India - however to prevent us from become a power in South Asia and to ensure that we remain subservient to them even after Independence, they pla down the contributions of Azad, Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose etc and acclaimed those of hi and Nehru. Whatever anyone may say its a fact that with the present Government at the Helm, India has a Bright Future and will play a Leading Role in the World in times to come
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                              Krishna Reddy
                              Aug 5, 2015 at 8:02 am
                              Kudos to Ajith Doval. Right man for the job
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                                Lalit
                                Aug 5, 2015 at 4:06 pm
                                ii appears that a modern day Chanakya is speaking.
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                                  Mohsin Syedain
                                  Aug 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm
                                  As an National Security Advisor, I feel such aggressive communications on a public platform could force the hands of political masters, leaving them with no room to manoeuvre. While I totally agree with his statement, it should been aired by the political masters of the day. As Mr. Doval himself goes on to rightly emphasis the Supremacy of the State, it is sometimes a strategic move to punch beiow ones weight keeping in mind the interest of the state in its long term ramifications and in light of such public posturing by agency it would force the political hands due to public pressure. Now, coming to his other observation regarding Yakub Memon and I quote '...when state acts in a judicial way...' I would like to point out to Mr. Doval that states are required to act in a judicial way ALWAYS...and I am sure he understands what Justice means. Any deviation from it means injustice.
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                                    Mohsin Syedain
                                    Aug 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm
                                    Tell them, dont tell them but why should this be aired on a public platform by bureaucrats? This is a perogative of his political masters. Bureaucracy is likened to the reinforcements of a building but when you have these very reinforcements sticking out of the building they are like to injure those they are supposed to shelter/protect. Dont try to be in the limelight Mr NSA. Actions speak louder than words. Start punching and you will not need to talk. I wonder what would have happened if the US Defence Secretary had revealed publically, plans to send in SEAL Team 6 into stan to take out Osama. My point is, ACT, dont TALK.
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                                    1. M
                                      Manoj Kumar
                                      Aug 5, 2015 at 9:29 am
                                      right man for the right job, perfect fit
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                                        anil choudhary
                                        Aug 5, 2015 at 8:38 am
                                        Great speech Mr Doval . You are the second born Chanakya of India . Great man .
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                                        1. R
                                          rao
                                          Aug 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm
                                          "Gary Zaetz " writes below /comments about Mr Ajit Doval what he does not realize that India or Indians are not hypocrites for that matter no where near to that of Americans , in 1971 when Indians wear helping Bangladeshi liberate their land USA sent in seventh fleet and got itself stationed aggressively so much for their democracy and freedom.Your police shoots blacks/Latino's like rabbit and you all talk of equality. Come on Gary go preach your sermons some where else not to us
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                                            rao
                                            Aug 5, 2015 at 1:21 pm
                                            Preach your sermons some where else man !! so much for your equality/ your police shoots black/latino's like rabbits. In 1971 USA sent in seventh fleet towards India, when India was helping Bangladeshi's for their freedom struggle , so much for your democracy. and justice. !!! HYPOCRITES no one could be far greater than USA !!
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