Balakot air strike planner named new R&AW chief, J&K expert is IB head

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, June 26: In a major development, the planner of the Balakot air strike, Samant Goel has been named as the new chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

Arvind Kumar, who is an expert on Jammu and Kashmir has been named as the next chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Prior to this appointment, Goel was heading the operations for the external intelligence agency. He was one of the key personnel involved in the planning of the Balakot air strikes. The Indian Air Force (IAF) hit a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror training facility in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred.

Goel has also handled Punjab militancy in the 1990s when it was at its peak. Officials in the agency tell OneIndia that Goel is mild mannered and his experience and tact will take the agency to new heights. He is an articulate planner and his appointment would help India deal better in its war against terror.

Kumar's appointment comes at a crucial time, when India is planning a clean up act in J&K. Kumar is an expert on J&K. Prior to his elevation, he was the special director, Kashmir in the IB. He was also instrumental in planning the operations against the naxalites.

The two officers will take over at the end of this month when the extended tenures of IB chief Rajiv Jain and R&AW boss, Anil Dhasmana ends. Both were appointed in December 2016 and were given a six month extension.

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