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Indian Defence University UPSC NOTE

 Defence universities in Neighbouring countries

  • Several nations have established ‘defence universities’ to promote academic rigour and enhance strategic thinking in their armed forces. 

  • In India’s own neighbourhood, it is reported that Pakistan has created two universities for its armed forces, while China has three, although a report of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute lists more than 60 Chinese universities with military and security links. 

  • In this context, the absence of the long overdue Indian Defence University (IDU) is concerning.

Professional Military Education

  • While the nature of war remains constant, its changing character imposes a premium on military education and the academic preparation required to cope with current and future security challenges. 

  • The dynamic and chaotic character of warfare currently on display in Europe and West Asia means that military officers are expected to produce results in the face of nebulous initial information and rapidly changing circumstances.

  • To meet complex challenges, officers are empowered through a well-constructed Professional Military Education (PME) continuum that augments their abilities to correspond with changing assignments and increasing responsibilities over long career spans.

  • The evolution of PME in the U.S. is of interest to us, since it has parallels with Indian theaterisation aims. 

  • While the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act, 1986 brought wide-ranging structural reforms, the U.S. military’s professionalism is perhaps owed in large measure to Ike Skelton, whose report to the U.S. Congress significantly reformed military education in the U.S. armed forces. 

  • This report advised the Department of Defense to focus educational institutions on specified learning objectives, enhance the quality of both civilian and military faculty, establish a two-phased system for the education of joint officers, and form an Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense University, among other things.

Slow progress

  • The Indian armed forces, like others, need a broad-based education system, founded upon academic rigour. 

  • This realisation came soon after independence when, in 1967, the Chiefs of Staff Committee mooted the setting up of a Defence Services University. 

  • In 1982, a Study Group constituted by the COSC emphasised the need to set up an apex educational body for the armed forces in the form of an IDU.

  • Two decades later, in the wake of the Kargil conflict, a committee was established under the chairmanship of Dr K. Subrahmanyam to examine this issue. 

  • Based on its recommendations, in May 2010, ‘in principle’ approval was accorded for setting up of the IDU in Gurgaon. 

  • Despite some optimistic reportage in 2017-18, the progress on setting up of the IDU has been rather slow.

Need for IDU

  • The several world-class training and education institutions run by India’s armed forces constitute a rich and vast ecosystem of professional training. 

  • However, they lack an overarching integrated PME framework and a multi-disciplinary approach to strategic thinking. 

  • Although the armed forces have affiliations with universities for degree courses, this is not the optimal solution. 

  • The IDU would remedy such shortcomings in India’s PME system by providing a central institution of higher military learning through a well-qualified faculty with a mix of academicians along with serving and retired officers from the military and civil services. In effect, this would unite theory with practice.

  • The university’s curriculum would vary among the various colleges and other institutions that would be governed by it. 

  • However, it would need to offer a variety of additional subjects relevant to national security and defence – both in sciences and humanities.

  • Some experts have suggested that after the establishment of the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) in Gujarat, there may not be a need for IDU. 

  • This argument is flawed, neither does the RRU Act specify education related to ‘defence’ in its objectives, nor is its curriculum focused solely on military requirements for management of war and execution of plans.

  • The need of the hour is to operationalise the IDU at the earliest, so that the first building-blocks of joint warfighting can be put in place through a well-calibrated and futuristic military education curriculum.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Indian Defence University UPSC NOTE
Indian Defence University UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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