The appointment of Rajinder Khanna as the Deputy National Security Adviser marks a first. Khanna, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing was appointed Deputy NSA. This is for the first time that both the National Security Advisor and the Deputy NSA are from the intelligence.
The NSA, Ajit Doval retired as the chief of the Intelligence Bureau.
The appointment of Khanna as the Deputy NSA clearly shows the importance that the government wants to emphasise on security. Before Modi came to power, there were discussions about why a man with experience in security should be the National Security Adviser. Having an NSA with a foreign affairs background had not helped as the nuances of policing could not be understood.
However, by appointing two intelligence officers as the NSA and Deputy NSA, it is a clear signal that Modi wants to push the nationalist agenda further. When Doval took over as the NSA, he actively supported the nationalist agenda apart from taking a very tough stance on Pakistan.
With both Doval and Khanna at the helm, there would be a great deal of emphasis on internal security, strategic affairs and foreign policy.
From day one Doval's policy was clear and there was no room for appeasement. When there is room to talk, we talk and when muscles need to be flexed, we do just that has been the Doval doctrine.
The appointment of Khanna as the Deputy NSA only goes on to show that Modi's topmost priority remains internal security. Khanna brings to the table lots of experience. He has led several counter-terror operations and is an expert on Pakistan and Islamic terrorism.