Delighted to address the convocation at National Defence College (NDC) in New Delhi.

  1. Commandant NDC Air Marshal Diptendu Choudhury AVSM,VM, VSM, Prof Uttam Kumar, University of Madras, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
  2. It gives me immense pleasure to be present at the National Defence College, the premier Institution and the highest seat of strategic learning in our Country. Let me start by extending a warm congratulation to the Commandant and all the Staff of the National Defence College on completing sixty years of dedicated Service to the Nation.  This College has produced many strategic leaders and practioners, not only from amongst country, but also from many friendly foreign countries.  Some of the Alumni have risen to become Heads of their respective countries such as Lt Gen Frederick William Kwasi Akuffo, former Head of the State of Ghana (13 NDC Course), Lt Gen Hussein Muhammad Ershad, The former President of Bangladesh (15 NDC Course) and His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, the King of Bhutan (45 NDC Course). Many of other Alumni have also risen to become heads of their respective Country’s Armed Forces, and many have risen to prominent positions in our country such as Shri Ajit Doval, Gen Bipin Rawat and Shri Lavasa to name a few.  Of the 3899 members who have graduated till date, many have served and are serving the Indian government with distinction.
  3. I would specially like to congratulate all members being awarded the M. Phil degrees today. I have been briefed that all of you had undertaken challenging topics and carried out vigorous research to come out with incisive and analytical solutions to many of the challenges being faced by the policy makers today. I am sanguine that your recommendations to the problems will assist the policy makers in various Govt Departments.  The multi dimensional and strategic over view of the NDC course would most certainly have widened your professional and personal outlook and definitely would have also given you a deep insight into strategic leadership and policy making.  The M. Phil degree will have enriched your minds and added to your academic capabilities.  I would also like to compliment the University of Madras which has since 2006 been closely associated with NDC and is running its M. Phil curriculum on Defence and Strategic Studies.
  4. As large number of you are from the Government and the Armed Forces, and would be aware that the security environment today is a challenging one and the internal and external aspects of our national security are closely interlinked.  The regional and global environment is becoming more and more complex by the day.  The world is facing many challenges in the form of international terrorism, fundamentalism, ethnic discontent, communal disharmony, economic disparity, competition for dwindling resources, environmental challenges and organised crime. Changing geo-politics and geo-strategic equations directly impact our National Security.  Add to that the epidemics such as the recent Corona Virus outbreak in China which has claimed numerous casualties, complicates and further makes the International scenario more complex.  This only strengthens my belief that we must always be prepared and alert to tackle future challenges and issues which may not give adequate notice and reaction time.  We in India must therefore develop a sound strategy through a robust policy framework in order to manage and resolve future challenges faced by us.  In this regard, developing and grooming the future senior leadership both of the military and the civil services by this unique Institution will play a vital role in tackling future challenges to enable our proud nation to achieve its destined potential and position.
  5.   India today has emerged as an important contributor towards growth, development, prosperity, peace and stability, in both Asia and the world.  Our Armed Forces are also swiftly transforming to meet future regional and global security challenges.  In this regard our Govt has given the highest priority to our national security through vital defence acquisitions to fill our gaps, and more importantly concentrating on building a robust indigenous manufacturing base for our future defence needs. The creation of the Dept of Military Affairs in the MoD and a CDS for our Armed Forces, are steps in the right direction to synergise our military strengths and capabilities.   
  6. In today’s dynamic security environment, we must be prepared to deal with not only the traditional threats, but also the new and non-traditional threats to our Nation’s security. Our country can never therefore be fully secure without ensuring external, internal, economic, energy and human security.   I am aware that all these facets of national security are studied and analysed holistically during the Course.
  7. Intensive research and qualitative analysis in all fields and areas of national security are essential for leaders of tomorrow.  The success of a nation state depends on how effectively it harnesses all the available resources at its disposal, foremost among these being a leadership adept in strategic planning and devising policy frameworks for a roadmap for the future. The grooming and nurturing of such strategic leader is the primary task undertaken by NDC. At this premier College, senior officers from the armed forces, the civil services and friendly foreign countries are exposed to a multi-disciplinary approach to all aspects of National Security, which will help them take well considered policy decisions in their respective fields and organisations.  I have no doubt that members of this College will rise further in their careers and organisations to become future leaders in their respective countries.
  8. In a democratic system like ours, it is imperative that all elements of state power synergise to work together. Senior civil and military officers must therefore not only be conversant with each other’s capabilities, they must also appreciate the limitations. Understanding the the constitutional frame work and sound knowledge of Comprehensive National Security is therefore a vital requirements. Therefore, the knowledge and exposure that you have gained at the NDC will indeed be of immense value not only in your future careers, but to the nation as well.
  9. In the end, I congratulate all the course members of the 58th NDC Course who have been awarded M. Phil degrees today. In particular, I extend my special appreciation to our foreign friends who have come from near and far to receive their degrees. I have no doubt that they must have benefited greatly from their learning in this Institution.
  10. I wish you all, success in your future endeavours and am confident that you will earn more laurels for yourselves and your countries.
  11. I, once again thank the Commandant NDC, Air Marshal Diptendu Choudhury AVSM, VM, VSM for inviting me as the Chief Guest for the Convocation Ceremony this morning.