Interview with Registrar: NALSAR set to launch new and innovative courses

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The Hyderabad-based NALSAR University of international repute is set to launch new innovative courses, which shall help tackle all future challenges.  Prof. V. Balakista Reddy, Professor of Law and Registrar, who also heads the Centre for Aerospace and Defence Laws (CADL) in a candid interview disclosed the reasons behind the decision to introduce these new courses. In fact, under his stellar leadership, the Centre had also recently launched “innovative and value added” programmes including Masters in Aviation Law and Air Transport Management, Masters in Defence and Security Laws, Masters in Space and Telecom Laws, Masters in Maritime Laws, Advanced P.G. Diploma in Aviation Law and Air Transport Management, Maritime and GIS and Remote Sensing Laws. Excerpts;

Q: Could you please explain us about the NALSAR and the Centre for Aerospace and Defence Laws (CADL)?

A: NALSAR University of Law which was established by Act 34 of 1998, consistently ranked as one of the best Law Universities in India has always endeavored to promote quality research in contemporary legal issues. The University established the advanced Centre for Air and Space Law (CASL) in 2005 which is now known as the Centre for Aerospace and Defence Laws (CADL). Since then, NALSAR-CADL has evolved inarguably a leader in promoting the study of and training in the specialized fields of Aerospace, Defence and Maritime Laws.

CADL-NALSAR is actively promoting teaching and research programmes in Aviation, Defence and Security, Space, Maritime Laws through the unique and value-added onsite/online Master’s and Advanced Diploma Courses, conducting national and international conferences, moot courts, workshops and by publications which include newsletters, journals, books and research articles. Cumulatively, these activities generated a large pool of scholars in the said fields, some of whom are awarded with M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees.

The objective of introducing these unique courses is to cater to the needs of unprecedented aviation growth coupled with commercialization of Aerospace, defence and Maritime Industries, which calls for thousands of skilled manpower to meet not just the managerial requirements but also the legal compliances that arise from the high value transactions in the rapidly growing Aerospace, Defence and Maritime sectors. There is an acute shortage of aerospace, defence and Maritime legal and managerial professionals around the world. The aforesaid courses are unique value added qualifications which would help the aspirants acquire global placements in the aero-space and Defence industry. With the support from organisations such as the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Department of Space/ ISRO and representatives from the private sector, these courses are being introduced. NALSAR’s initiative crystallizes an academic – industry partnership in the domain of Aerospace and Defence Laws which makes the programme first of its kind not only in India but also in this part of the world.

Q: What opportunities and challenges do you see the global Aerospace and Defence industry five years from now?

A: The trends of liberalization, privatization and globalization will take even bigger strides across the globe and under its influence, India will become world’s third largest aviation market by 2024. India’s infrastructure capabilities will be enhanced with higher passenger handling capacity. Business in this sector will see complicated and volume enhancing mergers and acquisitions across the world. I am excited about the fact that along with business leaders, other professionals will play an important role in leading this revolution.

Lack of a coherent proper law and policy in the aviation and defence sector is urgently needed. Government regulatory structure is a burden as it does not help solve the industry –market requirements of having new players and competitive growth through liberalization.  The changes in policy for example, the recent FDI policy are too few and piecemeal. There is no comprehensive Aviation Policy which could help guide and predict changes and help focus on core areas such as aviation infrastructure.

Q: Given the Covid-19 pandemic situation, which has affected industries in these sectors, how do you think the launch of such programmes are relevant?

 A: In spite of the temporary economic meltdown and closing down of Jet Airways & Kingfisher Airlines, the Indian aviation sector has been on a fast track growth and it is bouncing back. Many airports are getting privatized and new airports are also coming up. There is no doubt that the aviation sector in India has an ever increasing demand for hundreds of aviation lawyers, management professionals and Aeronautical Engineers among other professionals.  With airlines such as Air Asia entering into tie-ups and several support enterprises functioning in India, new opportunities require specialized and well trained serving and fresh professionals to man the modern aviation industry and who are trained specifically under the present regulatory structure. Our programme will thus help the aerospace industry to get the right professionals at the right time.

Q: Could you please tell about the scope and opportunities in the Indian Defence industry?

A: The defence sector was opened up to 100% for Indian private sector participation, with FDI permissible up to 26%, both subject to licensing and Government approval. Recognising this, the new Government decided to raise the cap to 74% through the FIPB approval route and has further decided that FDI beyond this will be allowed by the Cabinet Committee on Security only where cutting-edge technology is being transferred.

The Indian aerospace industry is moving into an era of multinational cooperation, or ‘horizontal specialisation’, where original equipment manufacturers as well as service suppliers seamlessly integrate functions such as engineering, manufacturing, and customer support across multiple global locations.

Q: Could you please tell me about the contents of the two years Master’s Degrees and one year Advanced Diplomas. How these courses are conducted?

A: This programme, being an integrated course, ensures the students become aviation law experts, certified by a leading law University and also gives a rare opportunity for lawyers to get a specialisation in air laws while becoming an air transport management expert, unlike traditional aviation law programmes.

The courses are blended versions of onsite and online sessions lasting two years for the Master’s Degree and one year for the Advanced Diploma. The M.A. in Aviation Law and Air Transport Management cover various subjects like General Principles of law, International Air Law, principles of management, Domestic Air Laws, Airline Management, Airport Management, Aviation safety, security and Liability Laws, Air space and Air Traffic Management, Air Transport economics, Aviation Marketing, Aviation Contracts and tenders, Aviation Corporate Laws.

The two-year MA (SDL) in semester-1 covers, General Principles of Law, International Security, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, Defence Technology and Law, International Institutions and Global Security; while the semester-2 introduces the subjects of Defence Management and Strategic studies, Defence Contracts and Tenders, Defence Procurement Policies, Defence Laws and Policies in India. In semester-3, the topics of  Regional Security and global governance, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, Aviation, Space, Maritime and Cyber Security Laws are discussed.

The two-year MA Maritime Laws consist of General Principles of Law, International Maritime Laws, Maritime Security and Safety, in semester -1, while the semester-2 covers Maritime Laws of India, International Trade and Maritime Transport Services, Maritime Disputes Resolution. Second year discusses the topics of Port Operations and Coastal Zone Management, The Law of Shipping Contracts, Maritime Economics, Marine Insurance Law, in semester-3 and semester-4 covers Maritime Crimes and Jurisdiction Issues, Marine Environmental Laws and Dissertation.

The Two-Year M.A. in Space and Telecommunication Laws consist of General Principles of Law, Space Technology and Law, International Space Law, Space Commercialization and Legal Issues, International Telecommunication Laws, Space Technology, Telecommunications and IPRs Issues, Information Technology and Cyber Laws, Space Security: Laws and Policies, Telecommunication Laws in India, Law of Remote Sensing and Geospatial Data          , Trade Laws relating to Space and Telecommunications, Space Law and Contemporary Issues.

The One Year  Advanced Diploma in Aviation Law and Air Transport Management covers General Principles of law, International Air Law, principles of management, Domestic Air Laws, Airline Management, Airport Management.

The one year Advanced Diploma in Maritime Laws consists of six papers taught in two semesters. The syllabus includes General Principles of Law, International Maritime Laws, Maritime Security and Safety, Maritime Laws of India, International Trade and Maritime Transport Services, Maritime Disputes Resolution.

One Year Advanced Diploma in GIS and Remote Sensing Laws discusses General Principles of Law, Remote Sensing Technology and Law, GIS Technology and Law, Coastal Zone Regulations and Management, Satellite Technology and Telecommunication Laws, Information Technology and Cyber Laws.

The courses have been designed in such a way that instruction starts from the fundamentals and comprises industry exposure which has already been crystallized. The evaluation will end with a dissertation. The pedagogy comprises case studies and project assignments and e-learning through web platform during the online sessions.

Q :  Could you please describe CADL’s contribution in the domain of Aerospace and Defence Laws?

A : As of now NALSAR has taken a big leap forward by focusing on contemporary legal issues pertaining to Aerospace and Defence Laws.  It is the only University in India which can proudly claim the fact that it has offered specialized courses in Aerospace and Defence Laws at both UG and PG level and has been able to produced more than 500 students as experts in the same. I am glad to tell you that these students have been catering to the needs of national as well as international aviation, defence, space, maritine sectors by rendering their services in various capacities such as legal advisors, legal consultants, practicing lawyers, in-house counsels in various International & National Law firms. The Centre serves as a research and training house for professionals with the several national and international prestigious conferences, workshops and moot court competitions that it conducts.

Q:  How will the syllabus be continually updated to fit changing needs and requirements?

A:   These courses are dynamic in nature which requires constant updating and evaluation. To evaluate these courses, NALSAR University through its high-powered Committee consisting of Judges, academicians, advocates, Experts from Aerospace and Defencesectors are involved in the updating syllabi in tune with the changing industry needs.

Q: Finally, can you please inform us about what job opportunities will the students have, after completing these courses?

A: India has a vast pool of untapped talent which after requisite teaching, training and development can become invaluable to any industry in the world and as universities of excellence. Students can become leaders in their respective areas of specialization with adequate skill development. Aerospace, Defence and Maritime sectors are truly international in nature hence, students trained through our courses can serve in the global and not just the Indian market. The online component of this course and personal contact classes, have brought education to their doorsteps, allowing participants to acquire the additional qualification while continuing with their current pursuits.The winds of privatization, commercialization and globalization have brought with themselves legal and managerial challenges and only those who take steps to appropriately train themselves professionally can think about evolving in their employment.

Our courses enable the participants/students to cater to the demands and requirements in the evolving Aerospace, Defence and Maritime sectors, particularly with the recent government legal and policy initiatives inviting private participation and individuals alike both globally and domestically.

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