August 10, 2016
Putting heads together: “The INDU proposal was not only meant to augment existing Professional Military Education capacities, but to provide the intellectual underpinnings for “jointness” among the different services.” File photo from the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun.
The current design for the National Defence University falls far short of the original ambition.
The draft bill for the proposed Indian National Defence University (INDU) has been recently placed 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.
The idea for creating a National Defence University was first proposed by the Chiefs of Staff Committee in 1967 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. This committee submitted its report in 2002 and provided the rationale for creating a National Defence University. In 2010 the Cabinet gave an “in principle” approval for setting up the Defence University in Binola, near Gurgaon. Subsequently a public sector undertaking EdCIL (India) Limited was tasked with preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR), a blueprint explaining the physical construction of the university, its act and statutes, plans for faculty development and the overall intellectual approach. After some internal discussions (spearheaded by former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon) on an initial draft, the final DPR was submitted in February 2013.
Trouble with silos