New Delhi: For the first time in the history of the National Defence College, its annual training course for senior serving officials to learn, upskill and ideate on policy-level issues, includes a participants who is not a member of the three-armed forces, police, or civil services.
Along with brigadier-rank and equivalent officers attending the prestigious course this time, is an executive from the conglomerate, Larsen & Toubro (L&T). This is the first time anyone from the private sector is attending the course meant for those handpicked from the armed forces, as part of their growth trajectory.
Sources in the defence and security establishment told ThePrint that for a while, there had been an idea to include people from private bodies as part of the course. However, this is the first time it has come into practice — in the NDC’s 62nd batch.
Specifically, there has been a growing push to include private sector industries into the defence ecosystem, the sources said.
“From both the manufacturing perspective and policy, there is a need for more extensive interaction with private players. This participation can be seen as part of the larger philosophy to include business in the defence sphere,” a source explained.
Sources close to the matter also told ThePrint that this year there was a renewed impetus to expand participants and include someone from the private sphere.
The member is like any other participant of the course and engages in the regular sessions and activities like the rest of the cohort, added the source. The selection process was carried out by the Ministry of Defence and done in a short turnaround.
Forum to facilitate interaction
Located in Lutyens Delhi’s Tees January Marg, the NDC is housed at an imperial mansion constructed by Sir Sobha Singh — one of five builders who built iconic parts of the capital city.
The first batch of the NDC graduated in 1961 and had 21 members. While nine of them had been from the Indian Army, four were from the Indian Navy, four from the Air Force, and four from the civil services.
Subsequent batches have included members from foreign defence services, but never before has someone from the private sector been part of the NDC course.
Of 47 weeks duration, the NDC course for senior officials is conducted between January and November every year, and comprises six main sections — Understanding India & Introduction to Strategy, Study on Economic Security, Science and Technology, Global Issues, International Security Environment, India’s Strategic Neighbourhood and Strategies and Structures for National Security.
The NDC course also acts as a forum to facilitate interaction between senior officers and scholars and officials from other countries, who take part in the course.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)