Insights into Editorial: The art of war
The government has proposed to set up the Indian National Defence University (INDU). In this regard, it has put up the draft bill in public domain. Though various committees had recommended the setting up of a national defence university, the government had been dragging its feet on the project. Things are finally moving now.
What’s there in the draft?
The Bill proposes to establish a world class fully autonomous institution of national importance under defence ministry. It will be a teaching and affiliating university for the existing training institutions of the three Services, which will develop and propagate higher education in National Security Studies, Defence Management and Defence Technology.
- It will promote policy oriented research on all aspects relating to national security, both internal and external.
- It would also cater for open and distance learning program for service personnel deployed in far flung areas and it will inculcate and promote coordination and interaction between the Armed Forces and other government agencies including friendly foreign countries.
The idea of INDU was first conceived in 1967, endorsed by the K Subhramanyam headed Committee on the National Defence University (CONDU) in 2002. However, the foundation for the nation’s first defence university was laid down by then PM Manmohan Singh in 2013 at Binola in Gurgaon with the hope that when completed, INDU will become a world class institution of higher defence studies.
Aims of INDU:
- Provide knowledge-based higher education for management of the defence of India to the military leadership and other concerned civilian officials.
- Develop and propagate higher education in defence studies like defence management, defence science and technology.
- Promote the policy with its orientation towards, research related to national defence.
- Prepare officers for high level leadership as well as staff and policy responsibilities
- Providing inputs for policy formulations.
Why we need INDU?
The nature of the challenges facing defence in the 21st century emphasises the vital requirement of education in a military officer’s career. The challenges posed by the use of military force in the world today require officers who can think and act independently of 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. This objective can be best achieved by INDU.
The aims of modern professional military education (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.
- Develop relevant, transferable skills, especially communication, use of information technology and organisation and management of the learning process.
What should the government do?
- The government needs to move beyond the usual military-bureaucratic apparatus and reach out to the best in the wider academic community.
- Excessive political interference, bureaucratic inertia and inter-services rivalry should be avoided.
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. The Indian military must evolve a culture of independent strategic thinking that allows its soldiers to comprehend national security in all its various dimensions. If led and structured professionally, INDU can help in achieving this goal.