Uncomfortable with other countries cultivating Indian military officers, government says it’ll pay for an international course if justified.
The defence ministry has barred armed forces officers from pursuing training courses abroad that are sponsored by foreign governments. It has said that the Indian government would pay for an international course if it is justified.
The decision was taken after it came to light that a large number of middle-rung officers were seeking clearance for course offers from foreign countries, particularly Western nations.
Typically, an official said, many of these countries would send out invites offering short, fully-funded courses or academic familiarisation tours to officers, who would then seek clearances on the ground that it did not burden the government financially.
An official in the know of the details told ThePrint that while many of these courses may have been professionally relevant, it was a matter of discomfort that these countries were using such opportunities to cultivate younger officers.
Also, it was argued that it did not suit India’s stature to accept such assistance given that New Delhi itself was offering courses for militaries in its neighbourhood.
This led to an official audit of permission granted for such cases, which was followed by an exercise to determine the cost the government would incur if it would have funded these officers.
The estimated amount, an insider said, was about Rs 12 crore. It was then decided at the highest levels that the government would rather fund these officers from than allow them to take benefits from a foreign country. A small part of the defence budget will now be earmarked for this purpose, the officials said.
Going forward, military officers can identify courses in foreign institutions and seek government funding, which would be put through the same approval process.
The only exception will be for courses that are agreed on a reciprocal basis, where India will also take in a specified number of foreign military officers for courses it offers.
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