He is widely known to be amongst the very best Intelligence officers India has ever seen He is an IPS officer from the 1968 batch of the Kerala cadre. He was actively involved in the Mizo conflict, Punjab conflict, and Kashmir issue.
In Mizoram conflict, Laldenga of Mizo National Front had claimed that Doval had won over 6 of his 7 army commanders. He spent long periods of time incognito with the Mizo National Army in the Arakan in Burma and inside Chinese territory.
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 Operation Black Thunder when security forces were charging in to flush out terrorists from there. He is said to have planned out the Punjab state elections of 1992.
Doval spent six years in Pakistan. He went to Kashmir in 1990 and persuaded militants (like Kuka Parrey) to become counter-insurgents targeting hardline anti-India terrorists. This set the way for state elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 1996.