Daily Current Affairs – 19th August, 2016

Daily Current Affairs – 19th August, 2016

Indian National Defence University (INDU)

  • The government has placed a draft bill, which proposes for Indian National Defence University (INDU), in the public domain.
  • While the intent to seek comments is a good sign, the draft bill is a stark illustration of deeper infirmities in thinking about both national security and higher education.

Background:

  1. The idea for creating a National Defence University was first proposed by the Chiefs of Staff Committee in 1967
  2. But it was only after the 1999 Kargil war that this idea was taken seriously when the government created a Committee on the National Defence University (CONDU) headed by the late K. Subrahmanyam.
  3. This committee submitted its report in 2002 and provided the rationale for creating a National Defence University.
  4. In 2010 the Cabinet gave an “in principle” approval for setting up the Defence University in Binola, near Gurgaon.
  5. It was in 2013 that then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had laid the foundation for the nation’s first defence university at Binola in Gurgaon with the hope that when completed, INDU “will become [a] world class institution of higher defence studies in which we will be able to take justifiable pride”.

Aim of INDU

  • The aim of INDU would be to provide military leadership and other concerned civilian officials knowledge based higher education for management of the defence of India, and keeping them abreast with emerging security challenges through scholarly research & training.
  • The INDU would develop and propagate higher education in Defence Studies, Defence Management, Defence Science and Technology and promote policy oriented research related to National Defence.
  • The think tanks of the University would provide inputs for policy formulation.
  • The university would prepare officers for high level leadership, Staff & Policy responsibilities.
  • National College of Defence Studies (NCDS), Indian Institute of Defence Technology (IIDT), Indian Institute of Defence Management (IIDM) and Defence Institute of Distance & Open Learning (DIDOL) would be the constituent colleges and institutions of the INDU.

India already has PME, why do we need INDU then?

  • India already has existing tri-services institutions for Professional Military Education (PME)
  • The INDU is proposed to augment existing PME capacities and also to provide the intellectual underpinnings for “jointness” among the different services.
  • The nature of the challenges facing defence in the 21st century emphasises the vital requirement of education in a military officer’s career
  • It is also true that the challenges posed by the use of military force in the world today require officers who can think and act independentlyof formulaic guidelines.
  • These challenges flow from changes in the strategic environment driven by social, economic and political factors which in turn affect the character of warfare and security as a whole.

As a consequence, there is a need to focus on enhancing the level of professional military education (PME) in India. INDU will help to fulfill these challenges.

In addition the aims of modern PME should be to

  • Develop the military officers’ understanding of defence in the modern world;
  • Demand critical engagement with current research on defence and its relationship with the fields of international relations, security studies, military history, war studies and operational experience;
  • Encourage a systematic and reflective understanding of contemporary conflicts;
  • Promote initiative, creativity and independence of thought in identifying, researching, judging and solving fundamental intellectual problems; and
  • Develop relevant, transferable skills, especially communication, use of information technology and organisation and management of the learning process.

Indian PME lacks every single one of these dimensions. Therefore, INDU can effectively fill these gaps.

Conclusion

If we want peace, we need to be prepared for war. And in order to be best prepared for it, we first need to understand it well. In the emerging strategic environment, understanding the knowledge terrain will be as important as knowing the geography or topology of the battlefield was in the past.

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