‘We must know Kashmiriyat as well as precision bombs’

Mubarak Ansari
Thursday, 30 May 2019

Air Marshal Ajit S Bhonsale (retired) and member of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), on Wednesday said that technical knowledge and awareness about social issues are essential for military officers to develop scientific temper and liberal values. A soldier is not recognised by physical strength alone but he has a moral dimension to his soldiering, he said.

Pune: Air Marshal Ajit S Bhonsale (retired) and member of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), on Wednesday said that technical knowledge and awareness about social issues are essential for military officers to develop scientific temper and liberal values. A soldier is not recognised by physical strength alone but he has a moral dimension to his soldiering, he said.

He was speaking at the 136th convocation ceremony of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla. A total of 251 cadets were conferred the degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). 

NDA Commandant Air Marshal IP Vipin, Deputy Commandant Rear Admiral SK Grewal, Principal OP Shukla were also present on the occasion. 

The first batch of BTech comprising 32 Naval cadets also received training completion certificate of 3 years from NDA and will be conferred with the degrees after completion of balance one year of training at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala. The NDA will begin the BTech course for Air Force cadets from next term, while the Army is yet to respond for this course.
 
Technical vs Humanities curricula
Talking about the much-debated issue of technical vs humanities curricula, Air Marshall Bhonsale said, “The battlefield has moved from land, sea, air to the domain of space and cyber. These five dimensions of conflict will dynamically combine with a preponderance of lethal technologies, multi-spectral detection and precision-guided kinetic and non-kinetic weapons. To handle these ‘complex’ scenarios and machines we need ‘smart’ men and women who are endowed with robust intelligent quotient (IQ) as well as effective emotional quotient. You will be faced with diverse challenges. At one time, you will be asked to lead your men on foot in hills and jungles in a ‘search and cordon’ operation against terrorists, and at another time you will be asked to outsmart the invisible cyber enemy sitting thousands of miles away or asked to manoeuvre your anti-satellite projectile to shoot down a rogue satellite. The multi-spectral, multi-domain battlefield demands multi-spectral enabled, multi-domain qualified military leaders who possess inadequate measure both high intelligence quotient and emotional quotient and exploit it to the fullest to deliver a crushing blow to enemy.”

He further added, “Study of humanities builds the emotional quotient so necessary while leading your men as also during the internal security duties. Knowledge of people, their culture, language, habits, sensitivities, religious activities, gender issues, customs, traditions, dogmas which are essentials of humanities, are enablers for effective maintenance of law and order. These are the lessons from our Sri Lanka Peace Keeping Operations and internal unrest in the North-East, Punjab and Kashmir. You as a military officer must know ‘What is Kashmiriyat?’- which is a humanities aspect. At the same time, you too need to know about the ‘precision guidance of spice bombs used in Balakot attack’ - which is a technical aspect. A harmonious and healthy mix of technical and humanities in your curriculum, in BA or BSc or BTech, will give you the essential knowledge.”

NDA must produce leadership for nation building also
Air Marshall Bhonsale, who had graduated from NDA’s 50th course in 1976, said, “The NDA was envisaged to provide not only robust military leadership but also leadership in various fields of nation-building. N Cmde AJ Paulraj, an ex-NDA cadet is the inventor of the Multiple Input Multiple Output  (MIMO) technology, which is at the heart of the WiFi & 4G technology. He is the Chairman of the Steering Committee to introduce 5G in India. The military academies of the United States have given three US presidents, astronauts, one Noble laureate, CIA directors, Congressmen among others. The NDA has the potential to bestow upon the cadets the knowledge, the wisdom, the self-confidence, the essentials of leadership in various fields to lead India to a brighter future. I can envision the epithet of NDA attaining wider connotation as the ‘Cradle of Leadership’ and not limited to ‘Cradle of Military Leadership’! Your destiny and the destiny of our nation are intertwined. India is emerging as a net security provider in the region with its growing comprehensive national power, of which military power is a major component. If you become strong, your military and comprehensive national power become strong.”
 

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