Thangjam Khurshchev Singh
In a significant development, the newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party Government in Manipur has made a commendable appointment by nominating Lt. Gen. (Retd) Konsam Himalaya Singh as the new Chairman of Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC) on 12 May 2017. Served for more than three decades in the Indian Army, holding key positions including the Commandant of Infantry School and the General-Officer-in-Command (GOC-16 Corps) he is the first highest decorated soldier from North East India, truly a disciplined son of the soil (Manipur). Considering state interest and his expertise on security reforms/sectors, the commission may consider inducting security studies scholars in civil administration by introducing National Security Studies (NSS) subject in the MPSC conducted exams. Commencement of security studies as an optional subject in the MPSC syllabus would not only support in creating job for more aspirants, but would provide opportunities to the state administrators (bureaucrats) to understand the contours of peace and conflict situations in both intellectual and practical aspects. Public servants from security studies background serving in the administration would also help in providing new solutions against the prevailing old security concerns in Manipur.
Acknowledging the importance of this discipline, states including Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab had considered it as one of the optional papers in it public service exams. Interestingly, the paper is also likely to approve soon by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as and when the title of this subject becomes common in different universities. In fact various universities operate their department of security studies in dissimilar nomenclature such as Defence Studies, Military Science, Defence and Strategic Studies, and Defence and National Security Studies etc. while the UPSC demands for a unanimous title, “National Security Studies”.
The subject is globally popular in western universities including Kings College London, United Kingdom and Harvard University, United States. In India out of 29 universities and 137 colleges (www.cdsrd.org), notable ones are Allahabad University (established in 1965); University of Pune (1963), Punjabi University (1969), University of Madras (1977), Bhonsala Military College (1989) and University of Punjab (2001). A dedicated security studies university known as the “Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice” was also established in Rajasthan in 2013. Subsequently, for both civilian and military personnel to pursue degrees and promote strategic research, the Indian National Defence University (INDU) was established under the Ministry of Defence in 2010. Recently established central universities such as Central University of Jammu and Central University of Gujarat have also offered the same course.
In Manipur, the course was first conceived as an allied subject (general foundation course) in the name of “Defence Studies” at the Dhanamanjari College of Science (D.M Science) in 1991. Eventually it was converted into three year graduate degree course in 2007. Since its inception the department has been functioning under the headship of Dr. Nongthongbam Sushil Kumar along with an experienced team of faculty members. Students who studied the course are expertise on areas including internal and external security threats, defence and military systems, theory and practices of war, science and technology, conflict resolution, international relations, strategic thought, maritime challenges, nuclear issues, world organisations, terrorism, environmental security, intelligence study and cyber security etc. However, as facilities for higher education are not available in Manipur, interested students from Manipur went to different universities in various states for further studies in Master, Master in Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor in Philosophy (DPhil or PhD).
Considering their intellectual prowess, numbers of security educationists from Manipur are employed in important government and non-government sectors. Some of the apex government organisations are the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), both functioning under Prime Minister Office. Other government affiliated organisations (think tanks) are Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) operating under Ministry of Defence (MoD); Centre for Land Warfare Studies (Indian Army); Centre for Air Power Studies (Air Force) and National Maritime Foundation (Navy). Similarly, Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) under the Ministry of External Affairs and Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) associated with Ministry of Home Affairs are premiere research centres where scholars from security studies are employed. Out of others, few private think tanks that provide internship and job opportunities are the Observer Research Foundation, Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) in New Delhi, Gateway House in Mumbai and Global India Foundation in Kolkata. In fact, India’s current top security bureaucrats including the National Security Advisor Ajit Dhoval (IPS, Retd) and his deputy Ambassador Arbind Gupta (IFS, Retd) were the heads of VIF and IDSA respectively just before they occupied their powerful positions in the NSCS. Likewise, Manipur with pool of intellectual talents could produce special security administrators not only in the state but also for the nation. However students who complete Master, MPhil and PhD (or already had research experiences), and wanted to join the Manipur administrative service are not given opportunity to crack the test as the dedicated discipline is yet to approved by the MPSC. Otherwise, recruiting them in the mainstream service can enhance the limited number of security experts in administrative segment of the state.
(The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of National Security Studies, Central University of Jammu. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Source: The Sangai Express