Synchronizing itself with modern day warfare, the National Defence Academy or NDA has changed its curriculum and training pattern after nineteen years. Since 1987, it has been the same when it came to training cadets who went on to become officer in our Services.
The new curriculum and the training pattern have been tailor-made to suit the specific requirement of India’s Services keeping in sync with the changing dynamics of the modern-day warfare.
The focus though, has not completely changed from training future officers from classical warfare, but has ingrained the following noticeable new things:
1. Specialized Courses in:
a. Anti-terror operations
b. Humanitarian Law
2. Increase in service training period from 4 1/2 months to 7 1/2 months.
3. Introduction of a completely new course on International Law of Armed Conflict that will also include studies on Geneva conventions to get acquainted with martial law.
4. Though the NDA incidentally is the world’s first Joint-Services Academy where future officers of all three wings of the Defence Forces of India are trained together, there would be cross attachment of cadets to all three services – Army, Navy and Air Force – to learn about the capabilities of the different Services.
Also, there would be greater emphasis on battlefield craft like how to hold ground for cover, how to move in various terrains, use of weaponry and gadgets, map reading etc.
The last time when the NDA curriculum was set in 1987, the Kashmir insurgency and the subsequent insurgencies in northeast India did not start. Paramilitary forces handled the Punjab terror campaign without the kind of involvement the Army has made in the later two campaigns, especially Kashmir.
On this Lt Gen AK Chopra, Commandant, NDA said;
The lesson we learnt from Kargil was that we had lost focus of basics. The basics need to be taught right and we will emphasize on them.
While conducting anti-terror ops, officers need to know the rules. This helps minimize collateral damage and harassment to innocents.
The Principal of NDA, SC Joshi said of the new changes,
The idea is that when cadets are finishing their academies (Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy and Naval Academy), they do not spend time on theoretical classes, but proceed directly to practical training.
The new modules integrated in the curriculum would begin from this year autumn session (116 Course Batch) though some modules began last year. However, integration of all the changes will take 3 years.
The Indian Armed Forces especially the Indian Army has served with distinction in areas of low intensity conflict like Kashmir where it had to fight a shadowy enemy spread within the civilian population literally and otherwise. With more than 15 years of experience now, it is perhaps the best Army in the world to fight such ‘wars’. Fighting terror is altogether a different ball game and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is proving the US and allied forces just that. The collateral damages and civilian casualties sustained in the last 4 years in the ‘war against terror’ following the 911 attacks in Afghanistan and subsequently Iraq far exceeds that of Kashmir and northeast India in the last 16 years. This shows the professionalism and character of our armed forces.
However, one must admit that with the new courses inducted and emphasis on new methods and education will only sharpen the skills of our future officers. Not only this, it would also keep our Gentlemen Cadets truly gentlemen and first class soldiers that many developed nations cannot boast of.
News Source The Indian Express