I, Col Ram Athavale, am an ‘81 Batch veteran Cavalier and an alumni of the National Defence Academy (Pune), Indian Military Academy (Dehradun), Defence Services Staff College (Wellington, Nilgiris), Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (Pune), College of Military Engineering (Pune) and Army War College (Mhow).
I have commanded an operational Armoured Regiment in the Indian Army during Operation Parakram. I have held numerous General Staff appointments in my three decades plus active service. I have experience in active Counter Insurgency operations in North East India and in Disaster Management at HQ Andaman & Nicobar Command in immediate post Tsunami resurgence. I was last posted as Director CBRN at the Directorate of Perspective Planning, Army Headquarters.
My Military training specialisations include Defence Services Staff Course, Senior Command Course, Tank Technology Course, NBC Defence Staff Officers Course and Operational Intelligence Staff Officers Course.
I have been awarded a BA (Military Studies), M.Sc (Defence & Strategic Studies), PG Diploma in Business Administration (HR) and a Resident Scholar Fellowship for my research on CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) Disaster Management. Additionally, I have a Certificate in Disaster Management to my credit.
My research in Counter CBRN measures led me to be awarded a PhD for my doctoral thesis on ‘CBRN Terrorism and its Crisis and Consequence Management in India’ from the Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India.
For the last 25 years, I have been engaged in CBRN defence and risk mitigation. During my tenure as Director CBRN at the Indian Army Headquarters, Ministry of Defence, I was responsible for CBRN threat assessment, doctrine formulation and concept development for CBRN defence. At the apex level, I was singularly responsible for conceptualizing CBRN equipment philosophy, planning, scaling, and post procurement logistics, identifying and selecting emerging technologies and suitable equipment for all phases of CBRN defence and incident management.
As a key advisor to the Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs on CBRN security and incident management, I hold experience in CBRN policy formulation, homeland security and CBRN response training. I specialized in CBRN risk mitigation, including critical Infrastructure protection and large event security. I also officiated as the nodal coordinating officer (army teams) for CBRN preparedness during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
I have been a Senior Consultant on CBRN matters to some Industries in India and helped improve their CBRN related products. I was instrumental in designing new CBRN ensemble for the Armed Forces and Para Military Forces.
My CBRN subject experience has led to many speaker and panellist opportunities at international and national seminars and conferences.
EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centers of Excellence
From Sep 2015 to Sep 2018, I have been a Key CBRN Expert for On-Site Technical Assistance (OSA) to the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence initiative (EU CBRN CoE). I was deployed in the Eastern and Central Africa region for the EU CBRN CoE and advised senior Government officials and important stakeholder personnel of eleven partner countries on the following matters -
CBRN threats and risk analysis and vulnerability assessment
Gap analysis and Needs Assessment Questionnaire (NAQ)
Mapping of CBRN assets and activities
Developing National CBRN Action Plans (NAP)
Developing CBRN policies and guidelines
Developing CBRN response plans, team configuration, training and equipping
Assisting in project monitoring and evaluation
I also assisted the European Commission (DG DEVCO and DG JRC) in project planning and Terms of Reference (ToR) development. Besides that, I also contributed in organising Needs Assessment workshops (NAQ) and National Action Plan (NAP) workshops in different countries of the region.
Presently based at Pune, India, I function as a CBRN Security and Incident Management Consultant & Advisor to commercial enterprises. Additionally, as a professor I am a Visiting Faculty at some Indian and overseas universities, academic institutions and Military Paramilitary CBRN Schools and training establishments on CBRN subjects and Disaster Management. Notable is the Masters in CBRNe Protection course at University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. I am a prolific writer in CBRN journals and magazines, I have been a preferred CBRN subject speaker at many international seminars and conferences. I have authored a pioneering book on ‘CBRN Incident Management in India’, titled “Toxic Portents”. The book was published in July 2019 and is available on Amazon in hardbound & Kindle versions.