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Bolstering India’s defence studies

Bolstering India’s defence studies
With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh having laid the foundation stone of the Indian National Defence University (INDU) in Gurgaon, an important and progressive step has been taken to enhance India’s national security and defence preparedness. A weakness in the strategic culture in the country has been noted time and time again despite the fine performance of our armed forces, which have risen to meet challenges. This weakness has impacted our national defence preparedness, leading to flaws and failures, a recent serious one being the Kargil imbroglio, which had caught the defence establishment napping. The defence establishment has at times worked at cross-purposes, there have been delays and defects in defence procurement and the seamless efficiency that should characterise our responses to threats has not always been palpable. Though the idea of a national university with an exclusive focus on defence and related issues had been mooted even four decades ago, it has been the report of the Kargil review committee that has given it urgency and brought it into being. While there already exist a few institutions relating to defence studies in the country, an apex and autonomous institution of high standards that will keep the military and civilian leadership of the country abreast of the emerging security challenges while providing higher education in defence studies, defence management, defence science and technology and policy-oriented research, amidst other subjects of relevance, was much needed. INDU will help address this absence of a strategic culture which compromises national security and at times leads to decision-making at variance with its imperatives, impairing the synergetic, immediate and effective responses so necessary to meet challenges.

As the regional and global environment becomes increasingly complex and new technologies emerge as also new actors on the internal and international stage, it is not easy to predict where the future threats to India’s nationhood will lie or what the next source of conflict will be. With India expected to play fresh and perhaps as yet undefined roles in a world that is in the midst of change and with the complexities of war and conflict not easy to fathom, an institutionalised approach to strategic thinking becomes necessary. Filling a critical void between the academic world and the realm of government, INDU will generate relevant knowledge and will act as a think-tank while creating a platform for brainstorming on issues of security and strategic planning. This awareness should help in more informed decision-making on national security.
MPost

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