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  • DPK Pillay

    Research Fellow
    Email: 
    dpkpillay@gmail.com
    Phone: 
    +91 11 2671 7983

    Colonel Dr. Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay (Retd.) has seen action in several disturbed areas of the country. He earned a Shaurya Chakra for gallantry beyond the call of duty in Tamenglong, Manipur where he is remembered for the evacuation of wounded children despite having himself received life threatening injuries. On his retirement, the villagers made him an honorary member of their tribe for his humanitarian actions and in recognition of the development initiatives taken by him in the region including a national highway sanctioned by the Government of India.   

    Col. Pillay has held several assignments in his 29-year career in the Indian Army. Besides several field assignments, he was selected by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to serve at the Military School, Bangalore to inspire cadets to join the Armed Forces. In 2003, he was selected for Project Beta which delivered a handheld PDA for use by the Infantry in counter insurgency operations. This was a very unique military-funded IT enterprise. For his contribution to the project, he was awarded the COAS Commendation Card in 2005.

    In January 2006, he was selected as Planning Officer (Defence) in the Planning and International Cooperation (PIC) Division of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Being the first service officer in the MoD secretariat, he handled issues ranging from defence policy and strategy, implementation of the Group of Ministers report on reform of national security system, defence cooperation with foreign countries, issues of multilateral forum as well as matters pertaining to institutions like the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). He has also represented India at various international forums including the UNOG for CCW conferences, UNGA, Shangri La Dialogue, ASEAN and UNEP, among others

    After the tenure at MoD, he served on a yearlong fellowship at IDSA in 2009, where he prepared a report on the benefits of joint exercises with the foreign countries. He was subsequently selected as Senior Defence Specialist in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), where he served from 2010 to 2017. He has been a member of several national level task forces including that on Defence Modernisation and Indigenisation headed by Shri Ravindra Gupta and the Task Force on Defence Diplomacy, which brought about significant changes in policy. He was also a member of the NSCS-nominated Task Force on Environmental Security. 

    Currently, Col. Pillay is pursuing research on violent extremism at IDSA as well as a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) project on Action Plan to Counter Radicalisation of Indian Youth. He was nominated as a member of the Advisory Committee for Commemoration of the First War with Pakistan (October 1947-December 1948) by the National Archives of India. He subsequently produced a well-researched exhibition on the accession of Jammu and Kashmir. In December 2018, he was nominated as Brand Ambassador to the Disabled in the Army, having been wounded in action and showing remarkable grit and recovery, by the COAS in a ceremony held at the Northern Command along with living Param Vir Chakra awardees.

    In December 2018, he was also deputed as a Military Advisor with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for After Action Review for the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. He was the first Indian armed forces officer selected as an Armed Forces Delegate with the ICRC. He re-joined IDSA in May 2019.

    Col. Pillay holds a Ph.D. from the Panjab University and his thesis deals with the debate between human and national security. Besides university courses, he has attended several military training programmes in India and abroad on diverse subjects relating to conflict resolution, human rights, security sector reform, humanitarian civil-military coordination, strategic negotiations, rehabilitation and relief, disaster risk management and environmental law. Some of the courses attended are: New Issues in Security course at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (2007), Switzerland; the UNOCHA course on Civil Military Cooperation at Bangkok (2014); and International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance, Barcelona, Spain (2014).

    He has been invited to present papers at international conferences, notably at the Martens Reading at St. Petersburg, Russia in May 2019 and at the ICRC South Asia in July 2017. He regularly conducts international humanitarian law (IHL) training for the UN missions at courses conducted by the Centre for UN Peacekeeping in New Delhi. He also delivers lectures at universities and colleges including at the UGC-HRD courses. He is a regular strategic affairs commentator on Indian radio and television as well as a motivational speaker, including at TED. He was a recipient of the CNN–IBN Special Achievement Award in 2012.

    Select Publications

    • Research Fellow, IDSA, Col. D.P.K. Pillay’s article on India’s nuclear policy, titled ‘Nuke policy not in for a change’ has been published in Mail Today on August 20, 2019.

      August 20, 2019
      IDSA News
    • Research Fellow, IDSA, Col. D.P.K. Pillay’s article on Jammu and Kashmir, titled ‘A chance for J&K to find a leadership that’s less threatening, more caring’ has been published in Live Mint on August 07, 2019.

      August 07, 2019
      IDSA News
    • This article examines India’s efforts to achieve food security. It traces the problem, from the inadequate production of food grains during colonial times, to the challenges of procurement, storage and distribution of cereals in post-independence India, after achieving self-sufficiency in food production. The establishment of the Public Distribution System (PDS) and its evolution into the Targeted PDS and the National Food Security Act are outlined. The role of the Food Corporation of India and the efforts to improve it, are discussed.

      Strategic Analysis
    • "Can Healthcare be Affordable for All in India?," in C.D. Sahay (ed.), A Political Economic Approach to Reclaiming India, Vivekananda International Foundation, Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2019.

      Read More[+]

      November 20, 2018
      IDSA News
    • To force all Rohingyas to return on the grounds of “threat to security” is against India’s humanitarian heritage. The government and its agencies are capable of sifting out Rohingya elements who might actually have links to terror organisations from the rest of the group.

      October 16, 2018
      IDSA Comments
    • Research Fellow, IDSA, Col DPK Pillay’s article on Dangari Killings, titled ‘Dangari Killings: Defending injustice a greater crime’ was published in ‘The Economic Times’ on October 16, 2018.

      In democracies like India, the approach is to establish the primacy of human life and dignity over everything else. What is at stake here is not justice in stray incidents of extrajudicial killings but the fundamental principles of a democratic, secular and liberal state, writes Col Pillay.

      October 16, 2018
      IDSA News
    • Research Fellow, IDSA, Col DPK Pillay’s article on Battle of Haifa, titled ‘100 Years of Battle of Haifa: A Greater Cause for Celebration than Surgical Strike’ was published in ‘The Outlook’ on September 24, 2018.

      The battle of Haifa and its significance a hundred years later emphasizes that why great battles should be commemorated and celebrated for the right reasons, say Col Pillay.

      September 24, 2018
      IDSA News
    • Human security as a concept contends that the appropriate referent for peace and security should be the individual instead of the state. This Essay explores whether a human security-centred approach, i.e., a focus on the individual citizen’s concerns and security complements rather than contradicts state and national security.

      Strategic Analysis
    • This article explores the concept of human security and examines the scope for its adoption as a normative and policy framework in India. Human security prioritises non-military methods as a means of achieving security without compromising the priorities accorded to traditional security threats. It requires the fulfilment of people’s basic needs and rights.

      Strategic Analysis
    • Chemical weapons can cause large scale death and destruction. To give an example, a pinhead size drop of nerve agent can kill an adult within minutes. In a country like India which has a large density of population, a large scale attack is almost impossible to prepare against. Chemical weapons are ideal for terror seekers because they are cheap and easily accessible. They are also easy to transport.

      CBW Magazine

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