Former RAW chief Rajinder Khanna has been named the Deputy National Security Adviser, the first time that both the National Security Advisor and the Deputy NSA are from the intelligence background. Before confirming the appointment, sources say, the government held discussions on why the National Security Adviser (NSA) and deputy NSA should have a security background instead of the usual foreign affairs background. NSA Ajit Doval, a former IPS officer, retired as chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the country's internal intelligence agency.

Khanna, a 1978 batch Research and Analysis Wing service (RAW) officer, is considered an expert on Pakistan and Islamic terrorism, and has supervised several counter-terrorism operations. After retiring from RAW he was re-employed as Officer on Special Duty (neighbourhood studies) in the National Security Council Secretariat. By appointing two intelligence officers as the NSA and deputy NSA, it is a clear signal that internal security is top priority for the Modi government.

The post was lying vacant since Arvind Gupta, a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, completed his tenure in August last year. Mr Gupta was appointed to the post in August 2014.

Our Bureau