Monday, June 2, 2008

Training for FMF Officer

The story of the former Lt Col who studied in India and titled his thesis on " The Military, the Government and a Multi-Cultural Society: The Threat of a Coup De-Tat : A Critical Analysis" is the stuff of folk lore.

Lieutenant-Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, who is on a study assignment overseas, is attending a course at the Defence Services Staff College in India . His first task should be to read the thesis which is maintained in the Vamilki College library along with all the thesis prepared by visiting students.

One wonders what topic Lt. Col Tikoitoga will be choosing for his mandatory thesis.

The Defence Service Staff College (DSSC) is one of the oldest military institutions in India. It was set up in India in the year 1905 as the Army Staff College at Deolali (near Bombay). The DSSC is located at Wellington (yes, the British name still persists), in the Nilgiris (literally meaning Blue Mountains), in the trijunction of three Southern states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Viewed from the plains, the Nilgiris appear enveloped in a blue haze, and hence its name.

Every student officer carries out research on a given topic relating to military subjects, international relations or important socio-political aspects of national significance. A research paper on the assigned subject is submitted by every officer on the course.

It is customary for foreign student officers of the Staff Course to give a presentation on their respective countries. It normally takes the form of script reading supported by a film, video clips, transparencies and so on. During the presentation, they normally cover the history, culture, political set up, economy, higher defence organisation, broad structure of the armed forces etc. The presentation is for one hour duration.

A delegation from the DSSC was recently in Fiji as part of their Foward Area Tour to understand the challenges and opportunities that exist in the Pacific Rim. India , fast an emerging superpower is now training its sights further afield as it builds up a blue water navy and looks to project its power and counter China's growing influence.

Best of luck to Lt. Col Tikoitoga. Now that Australia had stopped sending invitations to attend the Duntroon Military Colege in Canberra, and the invitations to Sandhurts are far and few in between, the much looked foward to training opportinities and the recipeints have become a significant "talking point" in the Delainabua.

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