The Indian National Defence University: Experts Weigh In

Indian National Defence University Bill, 2015 proposes to establish a world class fully autonomous institution of National Importance under Ministry of Defence.


The Indian National Defence University: Experts Weigh In

Backgrounder

Indian National Defence University Bill, 2015 ( Ref. page 41 of Fauji India Magazine Aug 16 issue ) proposes to establish a world class fully autonomous institution of National Importance under Ministry of Defence.

The University will develop and propagate higher education (PhD, M Phil, M Tech and M Sc) in National Security Studies, Defence Management and Defence Technology and promote policy oriented research on all aspects relating to national security, both internal and external. It would also encourage awareness of national security issues by reaching out to scholars and an audience beyond the official machinery.

It will also serve as a think tank contributing to policy formulation and debates on security and strategy. INDU will inculcate and promote coordination and interaction not just between the three Armed Services but also between other agencies of the Government, the Civil Bureaucracy, Para Military Forces (PMF), Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), Intelligence Agencies, Diplomats, Academicians, Strategic Planners, University Students and officers from Friendly Foreign Countries.

It would create synergy between the academic community and Govt functionaries. It would make available opportunities for higher studies through distance learning to interested military personnel.

Initially, four new colleges / institutions, namely School of National Security Studies, School of Defence Technology, School of Defence Management and Centre for Distance and Open Learning are proposed to be set up at main campus at Binola, Gurgaon.

The four existing Defence Institutions namely National Defence College (NDC), New Delhi, College of Defence Management (CDM), Secunderabad, Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington and National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, Pune are proposed to be brought under the ambit of INDU without diluting their powers or autonomy for award of degrees and diplomas.

The last date for sharing inputs on Draft Indian National Defense University Bill, 2015 was 21st August, 2016 on the u/m link.

https://www.mygov.in/group-issue/give-your-inputs-suggestions-draft-indian-national-defence-university-indu-bill-2015-0/

The Need for a Discourse

While several debates and discussions  should  have taken place in the country, especially in concerned military circles, think tanks and academic institutes before the formulation of the Bill, 2015  itself, the seriousness and stark reality of this significant national endeavor has become known and come into public domain only through this recently publicised draft!

Hence, while the required inputs/suggestions have hurriedly been forwarded by few responsible citizens, either from the defence fraternity or conscientious academicians there is an imperative need to spread adequate awareness and complete knowledge about the Bill, 2015 itself.

Close perusal of most of the forwarded inputs/suggestions amply reveal that many of the details, intricacies or complexities of the project are not known to the respondents not only in civil circles but in military environment too! Hence there is an inevitable need of adequately publicizing and spreading awareness about this project at least amongst the  concerned or interested military and civil fraternity who would likely to contribute their worth to this mega project in larger national interest!

Notwithstanding the above, a few veterans on earnest request, forwarded to me, their well meaning or intentioned  inputs/suggestions. These could not be sent to the MoD/GoI for due consideration due to late compilation and tedious forwarding procedures.

Notwithstanding ,all the compiled responses are reproduced below with a view to create and spread  awareness on this less known subject and also ‘trigger’ a healthy and objective debate amongst some of the responsible or concerned Faujis and Sainiks to freely express their views or perceptions on the subject. We earnestly hope that the concerned GoI/MoD authorities or agency will consider all the points raised and give them due consideration.

Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retd)

General

The Draft Bill is not well drafted. The "Objectives" should have been enunciated before Constituents and Affiliated Institutions. Everything else flows from the Objectives! Some important suggestions and comments are given in succeeding paragraphs.

Objectives

The name of the proposed University is Indian National ‘ Defence’  University , The Objectives should lay emphasis on ‘Defence’ aspect. However, a careful reading and analysis of the objects laid down  clearly shows that focus on the other hand is on ‘National Security’. The two are not synonymous. Defence is just one, though important part of National Security.

This would result in greatly diluting the ‘Defence’ aspect of the organization, studies and teaching in INDU. The objectives in the Draft Bill therefore need to be redrafted and debated upon before other details in the Bill are examined.

If the intention is to set up a National Security University, then let the Name of the University be changed accordingly. In this connection the ‘Mission’ of United States of America Defence University at Washington DC, as given below is relevant:-

"US National Defense University (NDU) supports the joint war fighter by providing rigorous Joint Professional Military Education to members of the US Armed Forces and select others, in order to develop leaders who have the ability to operate and creatively think in an unpredictable and complex world."

Constituents of  INDU

No existing military institution should become Constituent of INDU. The proposed University should not spend time on their functioning. They should continue to be under Chiefs of Staff Committee. INDU should concentrate on Higher Studies in Defence, Strategy and National Security so that Indian Defence Forces Leadership and the Nation are ready to meet the challenges of 21st Century, technology led warfare.

Col Parmesh K ‘Royal’ Mehrishi (Retd)

Suggestions

My limited suggestions for INDU are as follows :- (I am sure many learned stalwarts already have a view point, my points are what should not be done)

Do not appoint the VC/Head of the University by  seniority principle/rank (retiring Chiefs will ensure a perpetuating berth for themselves) the VC has to be a forward looking, creative visionary who has an independent mind of his own & loves dissent/conflicting views.

  • Do not allow IAS/IPS ( read babus) to take over the Institution.
  • Do not allow political interference in the churning of ideas /debates.
  • Do not allow any Anti National rhetoric to be aired from its premises.
  • Do not stifle views which may not be aligned with present day thinking but may be  futuristic.
  • Do not allow/encourage any cut-paste-copy job (plagiarism) by anyone to score brownie points.
  • Do not make it a Seniors only (read Generals/Admirals/Air Marshals) club/domain, cast a wide net for faculty/authors/writers/debators.

Do not clone any foreign based Institution for syllabus/process/procedure etc (no old file syndrome) we have enough in house talent to get it going.

Points for consideration

While I do agree that INDU should not be the sole preserve for military Officers as Faculty, a few points merit consideration:-

How many Universities in India have employed Military officers (qualified as per UGC norms) as Professors/Lecturers post retirement from the Military? Many are rejected just because the civilian is scared of his professionalism & discipline (Most Professors of Govt Universities I know never report on time for their class & flog their PhD aspirants as errand boys)

How many so called PhD holders are genuine authors of their thesis? (any independent panel can soon discover the plagiarism & cut-past-copy job)

If INDU will not have a Military skew in Faculty, which Institution will work with as much efficiency and adhere to quality? (remember the Military runs quality Institutions like NDA, AIT, DSSC, CDM & many more)

The civilian professor is welcome as guest faculty & independent author to air his views & teach. Every Institution has a basic DNA, at INDU it has to be "Original Thought-India First".

Let us not fall into the trap of " filling up vacancies." A detailed scrutiny & a wider net for faculty among the uniformed will yield results which will surprise  many !!

Col Pradeep Dalvi (Retd)

Of late many military officers, post retirement, have been airing their views as Defence Expert or Analyst on Social Media or through other platforms. In and around the national capital several such organisations or agencies have sprung up with a varied class of officers from IAS/PMF/DEFENCE who have been orchestrating their views in a manner that suits the perception, mind set or psyche of the Govt officials at the helm  who are only too happy to hear and believe what they feel and perceive to be right. Hence,they don't even feel the necessity of any validation or authentication of the advice being fwd to them!

Today, we do not have any authentic professional organization which can advise the Govt on various security related  issues requiring  Govt attention. I have perused  many of the responses forwarded to the GOI/MOD  and noted that most respondents have  recommended  INDU to be run  just like any other University! I don’t think that is the role of INDU?

Role of INDU could be:

a. Assist Govt in improving  Policy and Decision Making  on all issues related  to security.

b. Carry out detailed  Research and Analysis on all Security related issues and  find or work out  solutions.

c. Provide Non Partisan advice to all the three Services and MOD.

4. How this can be achieved:

a. Research & Analysis on burning security issues in India, sub-continent, Asia, Asia pacific, Far east and any other Geographical area of our interest.  This could be done  with team of experts  from DEFENCE / IAS/IFS/PMF, etc.,  with relevant professional  competency  related back ground.

b. Achieve Qualitative and Objectivity through publications, Data base, Seminars and Workshops.

c. Take on critical challenges within India (eg: unrest in Kashmir with strong recommendation to the Govt on Maoism, etc ), with our adversaries on issues  of insurgency/ terrorism, ISI interference etc., and conflict zones like Iraq/ Syria.

d. Accessibility to Govt/ pvt sector and others.

5. Educational Curriculum: To be restricted  to researchers, scholars, from Defence/related background for PhD, MSc (DS) in various specialised subjects including Weapons and Arms acquisition, Cyber and space WF etc. Offrs on Study to be encouraged with affiliation with INDU.

6. Recommended Experts on Subject matter in the faculty:

a. Military acquisition and procurement.

b. Military budget and Defence  spending, compensation, etc.

c. Military trg, induction and retention.

d. Policy analyst and researchers.

e. Linear programming , Logistics  Management, Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA).


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