National Security and Strategic Studies


     National Defence College is a premier Institution under the Ministry of Defence with an international repute and is known for its pioneering work in harmonizing National Security interests and strategic issues with governance in all its facets. The College conducts yearly course on “National Security and Strategic Studies” over a duration of 47 weeks commencing on the first Monday of January. NDC course is represented by 100 Course members comprising of Officers (Brig Equivalent) from Army, Navy and Air Force, Civil services (IAS, IPS, Coast Guard, DRDO, IRS etc.) and 25 Officers from friendly foreign countries.

     The Officers undergo eleven month training programme with focus on national security, covering all dimensions of domestic, regional and international issues to equip the future policy makers with background necessary to get a broad understanding of the multifarious economic, political, military, scientific and organizational aspects that are essential for planning of National Strategy. The course curriculum includes talks by eminent subject matter experts/ guest faculty, Panel discussions under six study modules, Strategic exercises, theme based seminars and study tours within the country (field tours to different States & Defence service tours to various service installation/Units) and tour abroad. By end of the course each member submits a thesis on the subject taken.

     NDC Course comprises of six study modules, each being conducted by one of the SDS. Poignant and contextually relevant themes are selected in each Study, which is taken by each of the seven SDS with his IAG groups constituting of 14-15 course members (Each IAG further has three subgroups of 4/5 members). Each IAG after the talk by the subject matter experts/eminent speaker addresses the titles through comprehensive brainstorming sessions, duly moderated by the respective Senior Directing Staff (SDS) culminating in a series of central discussions/presentations. The collaborative effort of each sub group is evolved as a research paper with suggestion/recommendation tackling the current scenario and proposal for addressing issues in future. Recommended Research papers are further published in the NDC Journals and forwarded to higher formations for necessary considerations. The composition of IAG is changed for every study module with a view to enrich the participants, each with a different skill-set and background, through intensive mutual interaction and opportunity to work under different SDS.

     A part from the routine talks/discussions by the subject matter experts, opportunity talks by visiting distinguished personalities, from within the country and abroad are often organised at the college to expose the course members to their views. Visiting Heads of States, senior military officials and ministers from foreign countries usually come in this category of talks.

Conduct of Study

1.    Study Modules. Total of six modules form part of the course curriculum, each of it drafted and conducted by the nominated SDS. Keeping into consideration the current issues/scenarios which directly/indirectly affect the National Security Scenario, seven group titles and further 03 sub-group titles (total of 21 titles under each study) are given for course members to discuss, analyse and evolve a paper (3000-4000 words). For the same course members are aided by the SDS i/c calling at least one subject matter expert for each sub group title. The six study module conducted as part of NDC is as follows:-

This introductory study lays the foundation for the course and is focused on Socio-Political influence on National Security. Salient issues deliberated in this study include:-

              (i)       Dimensions of National Security & Elements of National Power.
              (ii)      Historical legacy and cultural heritage of India.
              (iii)     Constitution of India.
              (iv)     Indian Federalism & Devolution of Power.
              (v)      Religion, Tribal & Ethnic Minorities and Insurgencies in India.
              (vi)     Demographic Challenges & Opportunities for India.
              (vii)    Governance, Electoral & Administrative Reforms.
              (viii)   Social Justice, Women Empowerment & NGOs in India.
              (ix)     Human Resource Development – Education & Health.
              (x)      Justice Law and Order.

The notion that economic factors play a more important role as determinants of national security has gained traction. The participants are provided a useful frame of reference for the relation between various facets of economic security and overall National Security, with reference to India.

              (i)      Economic Power – National Interests & Economic Policies.
              (ii)     Economic means to achieve National Security Ends.
              (iii)    Contemporary International Economic Environment – Markets, Capital, Labour.
              (iv)    Trade and Investment – Trade Regimes & Export promotion.
              (v)     Defence Resources and Economic Power.
              (vi)    Micro & Macro Economics Fundamentals.
              (vii)   Public & Private Sectors – Liberalisation & Privatisation.
              (viii)  Union –State Fiscal Relations & Financial Sector Reforms.
              (ix)    Industrial, Agricultural and Service Sectors in India – Challenges and Reforms.
              (x)     Energy Security for India.
              (xi)    Budget and Tax Regime in India.
              (xii)   Sustainable Development - Environment Security.
              (xiii)  Infrastructure Development – Deficit and Strategies.
              (xiv)  Parallel Economy & Black Money.

The aim of this study is to focus on issues confronting major geostrategic players, pivots and their security strategies which influence and shape the international security environment and thus, have an impact on India's foreign policy choices. The broad focus areas are as follows:-

              (i)      Geo-political and Geo-strategic Concepts.
              (ii)     International Relations.
              (iii)    Threats to the International Security Environment including Terrorism.
             (iv)    Peace and Conflicts in various Regions (Arctic, North America, Latin America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Middle East, East Asia & Oceania).
              (v)     India's Foreign Policy.

The aim of this study is to analyse the diverse areas of transnational concern which affect the global security and the well being of the world community as a whole. Science and Technology, being currencies of global power, are studied as well. Salient issues covered include:-

              (i)      Global Security and Strategic Partnerships.
             (ii)      UN and Conflict Resolution / Management.
             (iii)     International Economic System – Institutional Evolution & Reforms.
             (iv)     International Laws – Seas & Space International.
             (v)      WTO & Regional Trade Regimes.
             (vi)     Strategic (NBC) & Conventional Arms Control.
             (vii)    Ethnic, Identities & Ultra-Nationalism.
             (viii)   Cyber and Information Security.
             (ix)     Human Rights and International Refugee & Humanitarian Laws.
             (x)      International Crimes – Trafficking & Financial Crimes.
             (xi)     Pandemics and Global Response.
             (xii)    Space Technology.
             (xiii)   Nuclear Energy – NPT & NSG.
             (xiv)   Science & Technological Innovation – Global Power Matrix.

This study has a closer look on India's strategic neighborhood, which includes Central Asian Republics, South Asia, IOR and South East Asia, since India's geographical proximity and connectivity with these has an important bearing on India's growth and security. The aim of this study is twofold:-

              (i)      To analyse the extant socio-political, economic and security situations in countries in India's Strategic Neighbourhood.
            (ii)     To assess the intra-regional construct between these countries, the power play between major extra- regional powers in these regions and analyse implications for the region as well as India.

This study is the culmination of the course and aims to provide a holistic comprehension of the concept of National Security, leading to formulation of a National Security Strategy for India, synergysing the domestic, foreign, defence, informational, resource optimisation and niche- technology related strategies to achieve National Interests & Objectives. Various facets covered are as follows:-

              (i)      India's core Values, Interests, Security Objectives and Strategic Culture.
              (ii)     Analysis of Security Strategies of Relevant Neighbouring Countries.
              (iii)    India's Internal Security Strategy.
              (iv)    India's Foreign Policy with Neighbouring Countries.
              (v)     Leveraging India's Military Diplomacy.
              (vi)    India's Military Power – Challenges and Opportunities.
              (vii)   Security Sector Reforms – Higher Defence, Civil – Military Relationship, Jointmanship, Defence Production and R D.
              (viii)  National Defence Strategy Air Power and Maritime Doctrines.

2.    Strategic Gaming Exercise (SGE). Two SGE are conducted as part of the curriculum. SGE-I scheduled in the first half relates to the internal issues covering aspects as LWE, J&K and NE issues and SGE-II deals with international issues which have direct bearing on National Security, which is scheduled during the last study.

3.    Media Capsule. Three day Media capsule is planned during the fourth study to provide an exposure to the course participants in regard to media handling when addressing National Security issues as various appointments.

4.    NDC Seminar.NDC Seminar is conducted in the second week of July. Based on the Topic selected, Course members articulate/arbitrate titles under topic and also provide a paper which is subsequently published as a Journal.

5.    Tours at NDC. As part of the course curriculum the course members are taken on various tours to provide better exposure and relate the on ground scenario with the issues covered in the study module. Brief summary of tours is as follows:-
     (a)    Socio-Political Study Tour.
This week long tour undertaken as part of the Socio-Political Study of India happens to be the first tour of the course. It gives an opportunity to participants to visit various states and examine sociopolitical, cultural and religious aspects. Challenges of administration, governance and enforcing law and order, at state level and down to village level, can be understood in better perspective. The groups usually call on the Governors, Chief Ministers, senior government officers as well as grass-root level officials to understand the challenges faced by them.
     (b)    Economic Security Study Tour.
This tour enables participants to visit both public and private sector industries to perceive the industrial development in the country and apprise them of local view points on various economic and developmental issues. The course participants call on the governors, Chief Ministers, industrial leaders of the states and heads of financial institutions and interact with them in thesis issues.
     (c)    Foreign Countries Study Tour.
On completion of the third study module (International Security Environment) and before the midterm break, the course members in seven different groups visit two countries (Developing and Developed) each. This gives an opportunity to the course members to meet high ranking officers civil and military, industrial, administrative and financial establishments.
Tour for three days to the countries in India's strategic neighbourhood which coincides with the study on India's Strategic Neighbourhood.
     (e)    Foreign Officer Study Tour.
One week tour for foreign course members only, where in they visit premier defence training establishments like the National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College, College of Combat, Air Force Academy, also important Research and Development establishments and Defence Industries.
     (f)    Service Tours.
Course members are taken to various service installations to provide an exposure. The tours are:-
              (i)     Forward Area Tour. To provide a first hand knowledge of the working condition of Indian Army in actual field conditions. (four days duration).
              (ii)    Naval Tour.
Course members are exposed to the Naval power, wherein they are divided into 6 to 8 smaller groups corresponding to the number of Indian Naval Ships participating in the exercise. These groups spend a day on board the Naval Ships. The tour also includes visits to a number of shore establishments. (Five days)
              (iii)   Air Force Tour.
Tour to Air Force Stations of the Indian Air Force, to provide feel of operating conditions, potential and limitations of the Air Force. If feasible, a one day visit to Air Force fire power demonstration is also organised separately during the course. (Two-Three days)