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Four theatre commands likely to be raised by year-end

Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

While deliberations continue for a consensus on the creation of the military’s integrated theatre commands, the four proposed commands are likely be raised by year-end, according to a government official.

On Tuesday, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat chaired a meeting with the Vice Chiefs of the three Services, the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff and representatives from the Ministries of Defence, Home and Finance to iron out differences on the integrated theatre commands’ creation. While details of the deliberations were not known, an official source said more deliberations would be held.

It was expected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make an announcement on the creation of the commands, which would be the biggest reorganisation of the Indian armed forces since Independence, and the commands were likely to be raised by year-end, two official sources said.

The four commands planned are air defence command, maritime theatre command, integrated eastern theatre command and integrated western theatre command. “A maritime theatre commander will not be appointed right away. The command will be first raised and commander appointed later,” a source said.

Several officials had stated that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has major reservations over the creation of the commands.

There have also been questions on the naming of the commands. The IAF was for all commands to be rotational and so wanted the naming to be domain specific, one of the sources said. “It has been broadly agreed but initially they would be with respective service commander till the command stabilises,” the source stated.

Integrated joint planning

The need was integrated joint planning and not coordinated or syncing of operations as was done now. Single Service operations were not efficient or made the best use of the resources, the official said .

The proposed change was that at the highest level, instead of one Service making a single plan that was then routed through the headquarters and the Integrated Defence Command (IDS), in the new plan, they would be held by a three- star commander and integrated with other two domains, the source explained. “These plans will be presented to Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC) as opposed to a single plan being presented to a Chief,” the official stated.

“The operational functions will shift to theatre commands, which will involve the creation of joint structures in headquarters IDS,” the source noted.

Stating that there would be little to no financial outflow involved, the source said there was only creation of a headquarters and no movement of assets or personnel. “It is only reorganising ourselves in a better manner within existing resources,” the official added.


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:03:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/four-theatre-commands-likely-to-be-raised-by-year-end/article34913243.ece

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