Thursday, May 13, 2010

India to finally have a National Defence Varsity

India has long lacked a robust strategic thinking culture both within Military as well as outside it. The Govt is now finally scrambling to establish the Indian National Defence University (INDU) to help craft strategic planning and analysis in keeping with the countrys longterm geo-political objectives. The Union Cabinet on Thursday will take up the proposal to set up INDU, as a fully autonomous institution to be created by an Act of Parliament, decades after it was first mooted. Even the 2001 GoM report on Reforming the national security system had strongly recommended INDUs creation to usher in much-needed synergy between the academic world and the executive. At present, university research on defence and strategic issues is neither structured effectively, nor does it have any policy orientation.

Conversely, US, China and several other countries have institutions like INDU to ensure cross-pollination of ideas and strategic thinking between academia and government. In Washington,for instance, its commonplace to find strategists straddling both the worlds with equal ease. INDU will bring together existing institutes like the National Defence College (Delhi), College of Defence Management (Secunderabad), Defence Services Staff College (Wellington) and National Defence Academy (Khadakwasla ), which are currently affiliated to different universities, under its umbrella. Its also likely to include new institutes such as National Institute of Strategic Studies, College of National Security Policy and Institute for Advanced Technology Studies.
Rs 1,762 cr Kargil purchase scam buried by govt -MoD Tells The Apex Court There Was No Irregularity In 29 of 35 Purchases; Says Only Two Cases Worth Investigating

More than 10 years after Kargil war, the stink of corruption in purchases of arms and ammunition worth Rs 1,762 crore appears to have been a false alarm. After years of investigation, the MOD has said that it has now agreed to close most of the cases except 2 Thermally Guided Munition  purchases worth Rs 151 crore and aluminum caskets for Rs 6.55 crore in which CBI had registered FIRs more than four years ago. The Supreme Court is monitoring investigations into the purchases since 2004 when a PIL pointed out a damning report from Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that the ministry had agreed with CBI and Central Vigilance Commission to close 29 of the 35 purchase cases as they did not involve any corruption. Of the remaining six cases,CBI has reiterated to MoD its earlier findings that in three purchases Hand-Held Thermal Imagers worth Rs 41.95 crore, ammunition for T-72 tanks for Rs 402.7 crore and other ammunition worth Rs 9.2 crore no criminality or malafides are discernable. The high-profile cases were linked to Janata Dal(U) leader George Fernandess tenure as defence minister during the Kargil war. And while the cases were pursued once the UPA came to power, not much headway seems to have been made into the allegations that saw Congress target Fernandes as kafan chor. It has been argued that some of the purchases that were contracted in haste during the war were actually delivered later and some procedures had to be shortened.

The entire set of purchases relating to the Kargil war were later referred for investigation. In TGM and casket purchase cases, CBI had registered FIRs nearly three years back and no progress has been reported to the SC by the MoDs affidavit, which was handed over to the court by solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam. The MoD said CBI was still investigating into payment of agency commission with regard to purchase of Anti-Material Rifles contracted through Denel, a South African arms supplier. Of the 29 cases which the MoD has decided to close, it has imposed monetary penalty on arms and other material suppliers, including those from foreign countries. Lastly, the MoD said it has decided to close the case relating to purchase of Automatic Grenade Launcher for over Rs 52 crore, which was referred for an opinion to CVC. The CVC has advised closure of the case, it said.

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