Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

It is time to operationalize the Indian Defence University (IDU)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Status of IDU in India;

Mains level: Need for Professional Military Education;

Why in the news? 

  • While the nature of war remains constant, its changing character imposes a premium on Military Education and the Academic preparation required to cope with security challenges.
  • It is reported that Pakistan has created two universities for its armed forces, while China has three but India has no Defence University even though such a university in India was first proposed in 1967.

Need for Professional Military Education:

  • Inadequacy of RRU: Comparing the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) to the IDU is seen as flawed because the RRU’s objectives and curriculum do not specifically address military requirements for managing warfare and executing plans.
  • Long Overdue Realization: The establishment of the IDU has been delayed, despite its critical importance for defense preparedness, fostering a strategic culture, and promoting inter-service integration.
  • Rapidly changing the dynamic of Warfare: The dynamic and chaotic nature of warfare, particularly in regions like Europe and West Asia, requires military officers to be able to produce results despite dealing with unclear initial information and rapidly changing circumstances.
  • Empowerment through PME: To tackle these complex challenges, military officers are empowered through a well-constructed PME continuum. This continuum enhances their abilities to adapt to changing assignments and increasing responsibilities over their long careers.
  • Parallels with U.S. Evolution: The evolution of PME in the United States, as exemplified by the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and ‘Ike’ Skelton’s report to the U.S. Congress, serves as an example of the importance of structured military education in enhancing professionalism and preparedness.

Slow Progress in the Establishment of IDU:

  • Historical Context: The idea of establishing a Defence Services University was proposed as early as 1967 by the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). This indicates a long-standing recognition of the need for a broad-based education system in the Indian armed forces.
  • Delays in Implementation: Despite proposals and recommendations dating back to the 1960s and 1980s, significant progress towards establishing the IDU was only made after the Kargil conflict in the late 1990s. Even then, progress remained slow, with ‘in principle’ approval granted in May 2010, several years after the conflict.
  • Committee Formation: Following the Kargil conflict, a committee chaired by Dr K. Subrahmanyam was established to examine the issue of establishing the IDU. Based on its recommendations, in May 2010, ‘in principle’ approval was accorded for the 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.

Way Forward:

  • Government Commitment and Funding: The government should prioritize the establishment of the IDU and allocate sufficient funding for its development and infrastructure.
  • Streamlined Administrative Processes: Efforts should be made to streamline bureaucratic processes involved in setting up the IDU, ensuring that administrative hurdles do not impede progress.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Collaboration between various stakeholders, including the armed forces, government agencies, academic institutions, and industry partners, should be facilitated to expedite the establishment of the IDU.

Mains PYQ 

Q) Taxila University was one of the oldest universities in the world with which were associated several renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish, but unlike Nalanda, it is not considered a university in the modern sense. Discuss.

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