NEW DELHI: Aiming to strengthen ties with the friendly countries including those in the neighbourhood and Central Asia, India is raising the number of vacancies for courses in its strategic leadership institution -- National Defence College (NDC).
The move came as China has been increasing its influence in India’s neighbourhood in recent years.
Talking to reporters on Wednesday, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said during his opening remarks of the diamond jubilee of the institution, “We are going to increase 10 seats in 2021 and 10 more in 2022. Neighbouring countries will be getting additional seats. They include Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh.”
Five more friendly countries -- Tajikistan, Indonesia, Maldives, Uzbekistan and Philippines -- will now be able to send their officers, he added. National Defence College began in 1960 with 21 participants and is based out of New Delhi at present has a total of 100 seats which includes 25 for the foreign students. It will be increased to 110 in 2021 and 120 in 2022. At the National Defence College, civilians, as well as military officers from India and friendly foreign countries, are trained.
The aim of National Defence College is to equip future policymakers with the background necessary for a broad understanding of the varied social, economic, political, military, scientific and organisational aspects involved in the planning of national strategy. The course of instruction at the NDC comprises “National Security and Strategic Studies", conducted annually for 47 weeks
The NDC also functions as an important instrument of the State towards fostering and enhancing the strong relationship with friendly countries, not only in the neighbourhood but also globally.
The recent changes in the geopolitical environment and reshaping of the World order accompanied by the heightened security scenario in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian sub-continent have a direct impact on the development of India.
Hence, it was only apt for the National Defence College to discuss the various issues affecting India.
The institution has also planned diamond jubilee international webinar from November 5 to November 6 with the main theme on 'India's National Security - The Decade Ahead'. A keynote address by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh when he addresses the graduating members of the 60th NDC course.
The webinar will have a discussion on important topics relevant to the present geopolitical situation in the world and the relevance of emerging international order to India during and the post-Covid period.
A number of illustrious alumni from NDC have held significant appointments which include the present CDS, two Governors, present National Security Advisor, two Election Commissioners, 30 Indian Service Chiefs, over 20 Ambassadors, 4 Defence Secretaries and 5 Foreign Secretaries besides a number of others.
A number of foreign alumni have also achieved significant positions in their respective countries which include 74 Service Chiefs of their Armed Forces. The alumni rising to become Heads of States include His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, The King of Bhutan, Lt Gen Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Former President, Bangladesh and Lt Gen Frederick William Kwasi Akuffo, Former Head of State, Ghana
Another alumnus of NDC, His Excellency Hon’ble Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, is the Former Governor-General of Commonwealth of Australia.