Encounters between Ajit Doval and JeM chief Masood Azhar

NSA Ajit Doval first encountered Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Maulana Masood Azhar two decades ago.

Encounters between Ajit Doval and JeM chief Masood Azhar

New Delhi: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, who first encountered Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) founder Maulana Masood Azhar two decades ago, is yet again at the forefront to counter the threat posed by the Pakistan-based terrorist.

The Indian establishment believes that the recent terror attacks on Pathankot airbase and Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan is the handiwork of JeM.

In 1994, it was Doval who first found out how dangerous Masood Azhar was to India.

The JeM chief, who was then accidentally arrested by security officials in Jammu and Kashmir, was initially considered to be a small fish, but later Doval, the former Intelligence Bureau officer, revealed that Azhar was sent by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence to help Harkut-ul-Ansar and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen together to carry out terror attacks in J&K and other parts of India.

Doval, a highly decorated IPS officer of Kerala Cadre, who retired as Director, Intelligence Bureau in 2005, was the chief negotiator when the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 was hijacked in 1999.

NSA Doval had accompanied Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh to Kandahar with the three terrorists - Masood Azhar, Omar Shiekh and Mustaq Zargar. The hijackers had demanded the release of these three to free the passengers on the plane.

Later on December 13, 2001, when the Indian Parliament was attacked, Doval and his team played a crucial role in unearthing the terror plot and the arrest of Afzal Guru, who was later hanged in 2013.