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Experts mull 'Catching them young' for Defence role; Veteran Startups take lead

By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 15, Oct 2022, 12:04 pm IST | UPDATED: 15, Oct 2022, 12:13 pm IST

Experts mull 'Catching them young' for Defence role; Veteran Startups take lead New Delhi: To highlight the need, importance & way forward for Defence and Security Studies in academic institutions across the country in this dynamic geopolitical scenario, a seminar was held in the national capital that brought together Defence experts, Industry honchos, Academics & Policy makers.

Speaking on the occasion Chief Guest Air Marshal Rajeev Sachdeva, AVSM, said, ‘This generation is Gen C that stands for Connected always, Clicking always( on devices), Community Living, and Communicating on the go.’  Speaking for Atmanirbhar Bharat he emphasised the need to educate youth on Defence & its needs, link soldier, academicians and Industry. He said matured industries like DRDO & L&T should take the leadership role, look after big platforms and train the MSME’s to handle the lower spectrum equipment.

The speakers at the brainstorming sessions were Vikas Khitha, VP & Head Defence of Larson & Toubro, Dr KK Pathak from DRDO, Dr Kamath Prof IIT Kanpur, Lt General Anil Bhatt DG, Indian Space Association, Major General Anuj Mathur, Dr Paranjpe, Prof Department of Defence & Strategic Studies Savitribai Phule University Pune, KV Kuber of E&Y, Dr Probal Ghosh, Former Lead Co Chairman CSCAP International Study Groups and Guest Professor Stockholm University and Andy Kotwani, Chairman Aviakul Pvt Ltd.

Advocating that the triangle of academia-industry-defence establishment be strengthened, Dr Kamath Professor IIT Kanpur opined that interdisciplinary academic programs blending technology and strategy could be developed and the scope of NCC could be expanded to include defence studies.

Vikas Khitha VP & Head of Defence, Larson & Toubro emphasised the need for upskilling of Defence personal to be absorbed by Industry. He said veterans should initiate Startups themselves.

Lt General Bhatt, AVSM, PVSM, UYSM, SM, VSM & Director General of Indian Space Association sought the interest of youth to see space as the new frontier and talked about the encouragement of private players in space domain. He agreed that foundational compulsory military education will synergise strategic sectors of Aerospace, Space.

‘UPSC must include as compulsory one subject on Military strategy and technology in all competitive examinations, emphasised Dr Paranjpe of Savitribai Phule University Pune. He opined that Sainik Schools and Military schools must introduce Military education as a compulsory subject with due approvals. NCERT may be advised accordingly. ‘Catch them young,’ he said. ‘First formal military education needs to be introduced at the level of 9th class, when the age is impressionable.’

Dr KK Pathak of DRDO delved on MTech Program in Defence Technology - A joint initiative by DRDO and AICTE.

At the inaugural session, setting the context Maj General Anuj Mathur, VSM & Strategic Affairs expert emphasised the need for connecting and utilizing Defence manpower in nation building specially referring to the changing geopolitical scenario in the backdrop of the various conflicts taking place around the world.  

KV Kuber of Ernst & Young emphasised that while the Indian Armed Forces, DRDO and Industry form three pillars for AtmaNirbhar Bharat, Military Education as a fundamental inescapable necessity for AtmaNirbhar Bharat needs to find a prominent place in policy.

Dr Probal Ghosh, Former Lead Co Chairman CSCAP International Study Groups and Guest Professor Stockholm University, spoke about the viability of linking the Atmanirbhar Bharat abhiyan with that of Defence studies and creative  awareness. He outlined the historical narrative of self reliance in India and opined that the current initiative is most likely to succeed despite its large ambit. He outlined the proposal of Metamorphoses in making Defence education as an integral part of Atmanirbhar Bharat abhiyan.

The common chord struck was that Private sector should be invited to make investments in military education by sponsoring specific courses in universities, by investing in education as fundamental to design and research and that such activities may be considered under purview of CSR activities. That a separate budget head be created as part of Defence Budget for investment in education and that the need for military education is essential for the general public to be aware of the strategic sector.
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