The JNU Vice-Chancellor Prof M Jagadesh Kumar defended the university's decision to introduce a new optional course, "Counter Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation Among Major Powers", for its engineering students.
"During the past few days, there was a needless controversy… without going into the academic merits of the course. The objective of the course, 'Counter Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers', is mainly to have an in-depth understanding on the challenges emanating from terrorism to India's national security and how India can get equipped with the adequate responses in the case of any eventuality" Prof Kumar said in a statement.
He added, "The way things have unfolded in India's neighbourhood are proving highly detrimental to India's national security. It is imperative that an academic institution like JNU takes the lead and builds a good set of counter-terrorism specialists. India urgently needs a critical mass of such specialists in this field."
He also said the curriculum was designed keeping in mind "the terrorist activities at the global level and India's experience in Handling them."
"There is a need to further evolve India's perspective in a balanced and objective manner. This course has the potential to build a strong narrative for India. An in-depth understanding of various global and regional terrorist networks is a part of the curriculum of this course. How India has witnessed the rise of religious fundamentalism and radicalisation through perverse ideologies in its neighbourhood is an area where lot of knowledge is needed to deal with emerging situations," the VC Prof Kumar said.
Commenting on the nature of the curriculum, the VC said, "The curriculum is holistic and also contains sections on the role of intelligence information and counter-terrorism cooperation among major powers. There is a section on best practices of counter-terrorism and the major global and regional efforts in counter-terrorism. Science and Technology to counter terrorism will also be taught to students. This course will give a broad-based knowledge to engineering students."