Saturday, 24 July, 2021
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OPINION

Significance Of Defence University



Uttam Maharjan

 

The government is working to complete the establishment of a National Defence University in the country. For this, both academic tasks and infrastructure works are going on in full swing. The proposed university, which differs from all other universities in operation, is located in Kavrepalanchowk district.
The National Defence University was included in the government's policy and programmes for the fiscal year 2019/20. The Defence University and Development Board Order-2019 was issued by the government in order to set up the defence university in the country. In 2020, the National Defence University Infrastructure Construction Development Committee was brought into being in order to carry on infrastructure development activities. Now the seven-member expert team, led by Prof. Dr Shambhu Ram Simkhada, is busy preparing required curricula, faculties and subjects as well as determining credit hours and the duration of courses.
The executive director of the Board will be the incumbent brigadier general of the Nepali Army as recommended by the Chief of the Army Staff and approved by the Minister of Defence. The National Defence University will offer courses for Master's level and higher courses like MPhil and PhD for both Nepalis and foreigners. Government officials from various sectors, security agencies included, will get an opportunity for pursuing studies at the defence university.

Course
There it is security and military officials are compelled to go to foreign countries like India, China, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America to pursue defence and security courses in war or defence colleges there. They study courses related to defence and security matters like defence, security, military cooperation, military diplomacy and other evolving policy and security issues. In order to enable security and military officials as well as general people to pursue defence courses in the country itself, the idea of setting up a defence university was raised in 2015. It may be noted that in developed countries, there are separate universities catering to defence courses.
However, high-level command courses, which are short-term training slots, were started in the Staff College, Shivapuri and the Military Academy in 2015. But such courses are designed to offer only training on defence and security matters. The scope of the National Defence University will be broad, as it will be under the Ministry of Defence and even general people and foreigners will be allowed into the university. The defence university will also be advisor to the government in defence and security matters.
The importance of the National Defence University can hardly be exaggerated. Defence and security matters are very sensitive. As per Nepali Army officials, the defence university will help the country's defence forces to expand military and civil diplomacy by wooing even foreigners to the university. The defence university will help in formulating defence policy for the country through research on national defence and security management, military affairs and national, regional and international affairs. It will also help in the promotion of science and technology in the defence sector.
National defence policy is not only related to the country's defence and security matters but also associated with the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. So sound national defence policy is a sine qua non for the safeguarding of the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and freedom. Furthermore, sound defence policy sets the stage for making adequate preparations to cope with emerging threats through appropriate defence strategy.
In present-day times, the regional and global scenario of defence and security is changing. New geopolitical implications are emerging. Before our very eyes, geopolitical rivalry among our neighbours is taking place. Being located between two military behemoths, China and India, it behoves the country to pursue prudent and balanced defence policy so that it can adopt neutrality when it comes to supporting or crossing the military prowess of either country. The longstanding policy of the country of not allowing its soil to be used against any country is highly desirable and should be perpetuated.

Support for policy making
Sound defence policy is also pivotal in steering clear of security and cyber threats and in controlling transnational or trans-border crimes. It is the duty of the armed forces to protect its citizens and defend the country from outside forces. The proposed National Defence University will churn out skilled manpower and experts in the country itself. They will help in formulating national plans and policies relating to defence and security matters, national defence and strategic planning. The defence university will help in the analysis of security environments, both inside and outside the country. Moreover, it will help the Nepali Army in enhancing military cooperation in various sectors such as sharing knowledge, skills and technology, and in harnessing defence resources and capabilities for national interests.
In a nutshell, the National Defence University is the need of the hour. The defence university is expected to produce manpower required for national security and defence matters. As the university will not be confined to offering courses to Nepalis only, the presence of foreigners will enhance interaction between Nepalis and foreigners in defence and security aspects. Even India and China, our immediate neighbours, have pledged themselves to extend support to the defence university in whatever way they can. In fact, the need for a defence university has been long felt. Now looking at the preparations, both academic and infrastructure, the defence university will soon see the light.

(Former banker, Maharjan has been regularly writing on contemporary issues for this daily since 2000. uttam.maharjan1964@gmail.com)