NALSAR's innovative courses on aviation law, space

Prof V Balakista Reddy

Prof V Balakista Reddy


Prof V Balakista Reddy, Professor of Law and Registrar, NALSAR University of Law, also heads the Centre for Aerospace and Defence Laws (CADL) established at NALSAR.

Prof V Balakista Reddy, Professor of Law and Registrar, NALSAR University of Law, also heads the Centre for Aerospace and Defence Laws (CADL) established at NALSAR. In a freewheeling interview with The Hans India, he said that the Centre leads national and international research in the field of Air Law, Space Laws, Maritime Law, Defence and Security Laws is a pioneer in launching and running market driven and critically acclaimed courses in these fields. Under his stellar leadership, the Centre has 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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?

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 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.

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