March 30, 2019

Episode 3 of India First Leadership Talk Series Art of Decision Making


MVJ College of Engineering is a member of MHRD Innovation Incubation Council (MHRD-IIC). MHRD-IIC organized a live session on ‘Art of Decision Making’ by Shri. Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor, Government of India, at Hall No. 251, MVJ College of Engineering, Bengaluru. The session was held on 19th March, 2019, from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm.

The Episode 3 of the India First Leadership Talk was an interview of Shri. Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor, Government of India, by Dr. Abhay Jere, Chief Information Officer, MHRD, Government of India.


The Guest Lecture was attended by 5 students and 6 faculty members. Third year students were involved in a training program and First year students were in laboratories.

About the Interviewee

Shri. Ajit Doval is a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. He served as Head of Operations of the Intelligence Bureau, and was involved in many critical security operations. Shri. Ajit Doval is currently National Security Advisor to the Government of India. The Vivekananda International Foundation was founded by Shri. Ajit Doval for promoting quality research in the country.

Photographs of the Event

Excerpts from the Interview

The first question was on the fear of failure of vital decisions, in the process of decision making. Shri. Ajit Doval said that as human beings, major decisions always involve anxiety and uncertainty. Whether a decision is correct or wrong will be known only after the event, as none can predict the future. According to Shri. Ajit Doval, before any major decision, one needs to work out the worst-case scenario, and check whether this is affordable. As a next step, the worst-case scenario can be improved by preparing and assessing the risks, which in turn would require time, technology and intelligence. To manage fear, Shri. Doval suggested, one must articulate his fears in precise words, which will convince him that the fears are not as big or insurmountable as he thinks they are. Shri. Doval also opined that a contingency plan should be in place, to handle new and unforeseen situations that may arise as a result of the decision taken.

When asked about his considerations while making tough decisions, Shri. Doval defined ‘tough decisions’ as those affecting a large number of people for a long period of time. He cited the example of India’s decision to approach United Nations on Kashmir, immediately after Independence, as the reason for the Kashmir issue being unresolved. Shri. Doval suggested that while taking tough decisions, objectives must be stated clearly, without using adjectives and adverbs. After stating the objectives, an objective analysis needs to be carried out, with respect to strength, circumstances, limitations, resources and possibilities. There might be different options to achieve the objective, each option presenting a different cost, time and opportunity. Once the option is chosen, one must commit to the option and work towards the objectives. Shri. Ajith Doval opined that it’s important to make decisions right than to make right decisions. So, it’s important to concentrate on decisions rather than change the decision.

Shri. Ajit Doval agreed that he was different from others, because he prefers solo operations. He said that he prefers to include a surprise element, by not repeating any action or decision. The surprise element is maintained by acting fast and maintaining secrecy. He attributed his qualities to his childhood experiences at boarding school, and his never-say-die spirit.

Regarding the future of warfare, the National Security Advisor said that the conventional warfare could mean extinction of mankind. He added that conventional warfare is ineffective in achieving political and military objectives. The new generation warfare is against an invisible enemy, and intelligence is the key here. He warned that communication systems are highly vulnerable.

Shri. Ajit Doval advised students to change their attitude, and grow and identify themselves with the nation. He also appealed to youngsters to be patriotic and observed that materialism is reducing the individual identity.

Outcome of the Event

The talk made the attendees think deeply about the importance of decision making and its nuances. Shri. Doval’s talk struck a patriotic chord in the attendees. The precision of his statements left them awestruck.