NEW DELHI- India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen a daring former spy with years of experience in dealing with Pakistan as his national security adviser, a move officials say signals a more muscular approach to New Delhi's traditional enemy.

The choice of Ajit Doval, alongside former Indian army chief General V.K. Singh as a federal minister for the northeast region, underscores plans to revamp national security that Modi says became weak under the outgoing government.

The two top-level appointments, reporting directly to Modi, point to a desire to address what are arguably India's two most pressing external security concerns - Pakistan and China, both of which, like India, have nuclear arms.

Doval, a highly decorated officer renowned for his role in dangerous counter-insurgency missions, has long advocated tough action against militant groups, although operations he has been involved in suggest a level of pragmatism.