By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 24th May 13
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today presented a detailed justification of his security and defence policies over the last nine years, stating that the army had been enlarged and provided with new equipment; the Indian Air Force (IAF) provided with “cutting edge” capabilities; and the navy “fully equipped to operate at great distances from our shores.”
“India’s security has never been stronger than it is today and our international relationships have never been more conducive to our national development efforts,” said the PM.
The PM spoke at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Indian National Defence University (INDU), which will come up at Binola, Gurgaon, in the vicinity of the national capital. In 1999, the Kargil Review Committee, headed by K Subrahmanyam, had noted that the military needed an academic institution that would deal primarily with subjects related to national security.
So far, military training institutions have obtained accreditation from multiple universities. Cadets who complete the three-year training course at the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Khadakvasla get an undergraduate degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Officers who complete the Staff College Course at Wellington, Tamil Nadu, get a masters degree from Madras University. Now these institutions, and others like the National Defence College (NDC) New Delhi, and the College of Defence Management (CDM) Secunderabad, will be academically affiliated to INDU.
A serving three-star general from the army, navy or air force will head INDU, which will be modelled along the lines of Indian Institutes of Management and Technology (IIMs/IITs). Two-third of INDU’s students will be from the military, with the rest drawn from government, police organisations and civilians. The teaching faculty will consist equally of military officers and civilians.
The PM noted the importance of training both military and civilians in national security studies through this quote from the biography of British General, Charles George Gordon: “The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools, and its thinking done by cowards.”
INDU, he said, would not just teach “our thinkers and policymakers to understand the complexities of war and conflict,” but also educate military professionals about “the interplay between all attributes of national power.”
Senior officers note that the military does not have a well-developed academic tradition or structure, even in national security studies. Officers are allowed “study leave”, which is a one-year or two-year academic sabbatical on full pay, but rarely obtain qualifications that equip them for professional advancement.
“INDU is long overdue, but the challenge will be to create a world class defence university in a country that does not have a deep tradition of national security study and debate. INDU can only be successful if its initial faculty is chosen carefully, without the constraints of the University Grants Commission and other government bodies. Reputed national security academics from all over the world must be co-opted as visiting faculty, to lay a strong foundation for INDU,” says Lieutenant General VR Raghavan, a retired general with an outstanding academic reputation.