India steps up military diplomacy, engages neighborhood

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BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH
New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS)
More officers from neighboring counties will be trained at India’s prestigious strategic leadership institution – National Defence College (NDC) – as New Delhi increases its engagement with neighbors to counter the growing influence of China.
Five more friendly countries — Tajikistan, Indonesia, Maldives, Uzbekistan and Philippines — will now be able to send their officers to India for annual training in national and international security-related fields.
“In the next two years, NDC is going to increase intake of 20 participants from its current capacity of 100,” Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said during opening statement of the diamond jubilee of the institution. NDC was inaugurated in 1960 with 21 participants.
Kumar said that the seats have been increased keeping in view of huge demand India is getting from friendly foreign nations.
Out of existing 100 capacity, 75 are reserved for Indian senior defence and civil services officers and 25 are for officers from foreign nations across the continents.
It is learnt that out of 20 increased seats almost half of them would be reserved for friendly foreign nations. The seats are also reserved for officers coming from Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The officer said that 10 seats would be increased in 2021 and another 10 in 2022.
The NDC also functions as an important instrument of the state towards fostering and enhancing strong relationships with friendly countries, not only in the neighborhood but also globally.
Further, Kumar said, from next session ‘President Chair of Excellence’ has been planned to be established in the institution.
The aim of NDC is to equip future policymakers with the background necessary for a broad understanding of the varied social, economic, political, military, scientific and organisational aspects involved in the planning of national strategy.
The recent changes in the geopolitical environment and reshaping of the world order accompanied by the heightened security scenario in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian sub-continent has a direct impact on the development of India.
Hence, it was only apt for the NDC to discuss the various issues affecting India.
The institution has also planned Diamond Jubilee international webinar from November 5 to November 6 with the main theme on ‘India’s National Security – The Decade Ahead’.
The two-day webinar will commence with a keynote address by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh when he addresses the graduating members of the 60th NDC course.
The webinar will witness discussion on important topics relevant to the present geopolitical situation in the world and the relevance of emerging international order to India during and the post-Covid period.
The sub themes include talks by various speakers on the geopolitics in 21st century followed by a discussion on transformation of India and its security horizon over the next decade.
Further, a total 30 chiefs of services, 74 chiefs of services of foreign nations, 20 ambassadors, two election commissioners and two governors are alumni of the institution.

(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at sumit.k@ians.in)

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