Hon’ble President of India Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion of 58th NDC course

It gives me immense pleasure to welcome all of you to Rashtrapati Bhavan. I am sure that the 58thCourse of the NDC has been both fruitful and enriching for all of you. It is a unique Course indeed as it brings together officers from our Armed Forces and Civil Services. I am certain that you would have learnt as much from each other as from your faculty. I also note that there are 25 participating officers from 22 partner countries as well. I hope that you got ample opportunity to gain from your course as well as from your experience of India. I also welcome the spouses of all participants, faculty members and staff officers who are present here today.

The global environment in which we live is challenging and dynamic. There was a time when security and defence were synonymous with the need to maintain a nation’s territorial integrity. That is no longer the case today.

Today, the idea of security incorporates economic and energy security, as well as concerns about cyber-security, health, food, emerging technologies and the environment. In an increasingly connected world, political, social and economic upheavals beyond our national borders impact our security more strongly than ever before.

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A country’s ability to successfully master and negotiate the concerns in each of the above areas defines its national power. No doubt, each of these areas requires specialisation and analysis. However, they are also interlinked, calling for an integrated approach from those responsible for our security, as well as a process of constant learning and knowledge updating.

It is quite a complex task to bring different disciplines together to work in an integrated manner. In a democratic system like India’s, this requires different agencies and departments of the state – or frankly even the private sector – to work in coordination. And to understand the strengths and limits of each other’s functioning.

This means that the political executive and officers of the civil services must be conversant with the capabilities and thinking of the defence forces. Similarly, military officers need to be sensitised to the constitutional and administrative framework within which the executive operates. All of these are elements in the creation of a national security approach.

The success of any nation state in this regard depends on how effective it is in developing its concerned human resources. It is in this context that the NDC course is so important. All of you – civil and military officers – come together for a period of almost 11 months. This, I am sure, provides you ample opportunities to share your specialised expertise and related perspectives with your Coursemates. The Course must have enriched your understanding of each other’s strengths and constraints and the possible opportunities for collaboration. Ultimately, these 11 months are an investment for building a corpus of uniquely skilled set of officers who can understand, design and implement a holistic security approach. This course meets not just the individual country needs – but paves the way for an enlightened understanding of our shared security concerns.

I am told that six components or studies comprise the curriculum of the NDC course. The Socio-Political Study helps in comprehending the main features of Indian society and polity. The Economy Security Study introduces you to principles and practices that shape economic trends and their impact on comprehensive security.

The next three studies are on:

  1. International Security Environment
  2. Global Issues, including technology and the environment
  3. India’s Strategic Neighbourhood

All of these focus on factors that shape the international security environment – and affect India’s foreign policy.

The final study is on Strategies and Structures for National Security. It is the synthesis of everything you have learnt and experienced during the year.

I am confident that this course and this exposure would have left you better informed and enhanced your abilities to contribute to your country’s security perspectives.

India and its neighbourhood – and the broader Asian continent – is faced with multiple security threats and risks that have assumed global significance. Terrorism and violent extremism are common challenges that are both state-based and asymmetrical. Also, as Asia emerges as the hotspot and the growth centre of the global economic order, security concerns will increasingly focus on securing our economic interests and growth objectives. Threats will come in all domains – from the maritime space to cyberspace. We have to be prepared.

We need to develop a ‘Strategic Culture’ with respect to security both in India and your respective countries. As graduates and alumni of the NDC, you are now part of the same family. And along with the faculty members of the NDC, I am sure you will contribute to strengthening our understanding of the multidimensional approach to security in the years to come.

I wish the NDC and all the participants in this course the very best. To our international participants, I hope this has also been a time to discover India and to make friends. Wherever you go, you will carry a bit of India with you.

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