A Pakistani strategic scholar’s tweet and a former Indian Navy chief’s quote tweet earlier this week have drawn attention to the fact that while Pakistan has two functioning defence universities, India has none yet, despite one being proposed 53 years ago.
Adil Sultan tweeted on 12 October that he had joined as dean/head of department at Islamabad’s Air University, and the very next day, Admiral Arun Prakash (retd), the Indian Navy chief between 2004 and 2006, lamented that India’s National Defence University, conceived in 1967, is only marked by a “forlorn foundation stone” in a field in Haryana.
Admiral Prakash’s tweet was a reminder that in India, chronic delays in the realm of defence are not just limited to procurements, but include something as routine as a university.
History of IDU
The idea to set up a national defence university as an institution of national importance was first mooted by the Chief of Staff Committee in 1967. In 1982, it was endorsed by the in-house Lt Gen. Sethna Committee. In 1999, the Kargil Review Committee revived it, and the proposal was endorsed by a Group of Ministers (GoM) report.
On 23 July 2001, the Ministry of Defence appointed a Committee on the National Defence University (CONDU) under the chairmanship of K. Subrahmanyam, a retired civil servant and father of current Minister of External Affairs and former foreign secretary S. Jaishankar.