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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Defence Studies for Civilians

Defence institute opens gates to civilians




DIAT has been a premier defence institute affiliated to Defence Research and Development Organisation ( D R D O ) . What was the reason to open its doors to civilians? 


DIAT was established in 1952 as the Institute of Armament Studies. DRDO's laboratory, it was renamed as the Institute of Armament Technology (IAT) later. It used to offer various courses in association with the University of Pune. Since we are essentially a defence institute and courses are more applicationfocussed, it was difficult for a traditional university to impart specialised training. DIAT got the status of a deemed university later. It gave us the flexibility to impart training in various courses. 
   The institute's basic aim is to cater to the needs of broad disciplines of defence. We have good infrastructure. We have been offering Master's programmes to scientists and defence people with work experience. The faculty is also very experienced. So, we thought it would be a good idea to bring young engineers with innovative ideas to rub shoulders with people who know technology and are experienced in their own field. 


How many non-defence students would DIAT recruit and what would be the courses available to them? 


The number of students in a postgraduate class is limited. We have around 20 students in most of the courses. We are planning to have 50% students from a defence background and the rest from a non-defence background, which would constitute both graduates and people from the private sector. The institute's aim is to impart training to the best minds in the country and private sector. All security issues related to defence have been kept in mind before taking this decision. 
   Our aim is to open almost every course to students from a nondefence background. We have also tried to broad base the curriculum. Some courses have been renamed like the Master's degree in mechanical engineering in combat vehicles has been renamed as automobile engineering, ME mechanical degree course in guided missiles is now called aerospace engineering. 


Can you elaborate on your future plans of DIAT as a university? 


We are looking at both national and international collaborations. Nationally, DIAT is planning to have tie-ups with Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Indian Ordnance Factories, etc. Internationally, we are planning to tie-up with countries like US, UK and Australia. We are keen to collaborate with Cranfield Institute of Technology, UK. We have received requests from countries like Nigeria and Poland. Poland wants to invite DIAT's students to study there. Also, a batch of 20 engineers from Ethiopia will come here for training. 
   In 2009, we are planning to roll out a Master's programme in computer science for defence personnel. There is a great demand for this programme among DRDO's scientists. But because of the limited number of seats they are unable to enrol in IITs. We are also planning to appoint guides from our institutes for PhD students of other universities too. Due to physical proximity and the university's strong base in IT, University of Pune is the first choice. 


Are there plans to offer courses at the undergraduate level too? 


At present the university wants to concentrate on PG level courses. Offering education at the undergraduate level would require additional planning at the curriculum and infrastructure level.



Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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