William S. Cohen, Mani Shankar Aiyar, and Ajit Kumar Dovel discuss the steps for securing South Asia.
William S. Cohen, President and CEO, The Cohen Group; US Secretary of Defense, 1997 - 2001
Mani Shankar Aiyar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Ajit Kumar Doval, Former Director of Intelligence Bureau, India
Chair: Suhasini Haidar, Senior Editor, CNN/IBN
Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar is a former Indian diplomat turned politician. He was born in Lahore on the 10th of April, 1941. He is a member of the Indian National Congress party and was a part of the first (2004–2009) Cabinet of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. While in the Cabinet, he served as the Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, a system of local government particular to South Asia. He served as the Union Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas from May 2004 through January 2006 and of Youth Affairs and Sports till 2009. He was also the first Minister for the Development of the North East Region (DONER).
He has represented the Mayiladuthurai constituency of Tamil Nadu in the 14th Lok Sabha. He is currently a nominated member of parliament from the Rajyasabha. He served 26 years in the IFS, the last five of which were on deputation to the Prime Minister's Office under Rajiv Gandhi (1985–1989). He set out to make a mark in politics after an impressive and eventful administrative career which saw him undertake many missions such as being the country's first ever Consul General in Karachi and taking part in diplomatic missions in Brussels, Hanoi and Baghdad. He was a part of the Parliament as a Congress M.P from Mayiladuthurai in 1991, 1999 and 2004. Mani Shanker Aiyar is the chairman of the Congress party's panchayati cell, the Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan. A well-known political columnist, Aiyar has written several books, including Pakistan Papers and Remembering Rajiv, and has edited a four-volume publication, Rajiv Gandhi's India.
His fields of interest include nuclear disarmament, grassroots democracy and Indian foreign policy with a special focus on India's neighboring countries and the West Asian region.
William S. Cohen
Secretary William S. Cohen is the Chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group, a strategic business consulting firm based in Washington, DC.
Secretary Cohen served as the 20th U.S. Secretary of Defense, from January 1997 to January 2001, where he oversaw the largest organization in the U.S. with a budget of $300 billion and three million military and civilian personnel.
As a three-term United States Senator (1979 to 1997), he was a recognized expert on defense and international issues, health care, and government procurement. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms (1973 to 1979), and as mayor of Bangor, Maine (1971 to 1972).
Secretary Cohen was born in Bangor, Maine and received a B.A. in Latin from Bowdoin College (1962), and a law degree from Boston University Law School (1965).
Ajit Kumar Doval
A highly decorated officer, Ajit Doval retired as Director of Intelligence Bureau India in 2005. A recipient of Kirti Chakra, one of the highest Defence gallantry awards of the country, Shri Doval was also country’s youngest officer to be awarded prestigious Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Service at the age of 29, a record that he still holds in the country. After obtaining his master’s degree in Economics in 1967 securing first position in the University of Agra, he joined the Indian Police Service in 1968. A graduate of National Defense College, Shri Doval was elected President of the International Association of Chiefs of the Police for Asia and Pacific region in 2004. During over three decades of his services with the Intelligence Bureau, he held many senior positions both within and outside the country. Essentially an operations man, he mostly worked in the field including North-East, Sikkim, Punjab, J&K, Pakistan, U.K. etc. In the Headquarters, he headed IB’s operation and counter intelligence wings for long years and was founder Chairman of the Multi Agency Centre and Joint Task Force on Intelligence.
Widely known to be amongst the very best Intelligence officers India have ever seen, he was actively involved in resolution of insurgency in Mizoram, Sikkim operation, handling of militancy in Punjab, tackling trans-border terrorism in Kashmir etc. During Mizoram conflict, Laldenga Chief of Mizo National Front claimed that Doval had won over 6 of his 7 army commanders leaving him no choice but to accept the settlement with India. He spent long periods of time incognito in Mizo insurgent camps in India and across. In Punjab he was behind the rescue of Romanian diplomat Liviu Radu and the success of Operation Black Thunder. Doval was actually inside the Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab, in 1989 during the Operation Black Thunder. He is said to have planned out the Punjab state elections of 1992.
Doval spent six years in Pakistan. In Kashmir, he persuaded many militant groups like that of Kuka Parray to become counter-insurgents targeting hardline pro-Pakistani terrorists. This set the way for state elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 1996. While tackling terrorism in the country’s hinterland, during 2000-2004, nearly 300 Pakistani sleeper cells and espionage rings were unearthed and neutralized.
He is held in high esteem as one of India’s foremost analyst and commentator on national and international security and strategic issues. Known for his clarity of vision for Indian and Global security and practical ideas to deal with them, his writings have been widely published both within and outside the country. He has extensively spoken, nationally and internationally, on strengthening Indian security apparatus and closer security cooperation amongst the nations. Currently, he is the Director of Vivekananda International Foundation, a non-partisan think tank and research centre dedicated to strategic and security studies, international relations and other issues of national concern. A strong advocate of a centrally strategized, coordinated and resourced response to national level threats, he has been a supporter for creation of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). Mr. Doval has also spoken at esteemed global conferences and seminars in support of greater international cooperation for tackling common security threats.
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen explains the Obama administration's move toward increased security in Asia, which will counter threats of piracy, extremism and instability-- while promoting diplomatic and economic relationships.