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‘India will work to create theater commands, despite the rivalry between services and the strong objections of the IAF’ | India News


NEW DELHI: India will begin the process to establish joint theater commands starting next year, after first integrating air defense, drone operations, logistics, medical and similar services between the Army, Navy and IAF, Chief of Defense General Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat said Tuesday.

“I have been given three years for the creation of theater commands and I will,” said Gen Rawat, in an unequivocal message that the integrated commands will be strongly promoted despite the bitter territorial wars between the three Services, institutional resistance and strong objections of the IAF.

The creation of “geographical” theater commands, where all assets and labor of the Army, Navy and IAF will be placed under an operational commander in a region, along with “functional” tri-service commands for air defense, Logistics and training will be the largest military restructuring in the history of India.

The proposed plan is to establish one or two commands (one north west of Nepal and one east of Nepal) to manage China, one or two commands on the western front with Pakistan (one in J&K and the other to include Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan) and a southern command for peninsular India, as previously reported by TOI.

The objective is to reduce costs and labor of adequate size, in the context of the increasing pay and pension bills of the strong armed forces of almost 15 lakh, as well as to build an integrated land-air-sea machinery for Wars of the future Since annual defense spending is unlikely to record a major leap, Gen Rawat said there should be a better use of resources. “The budget is more of a management problem than of financing,” he said.

But Gen Rawat, who assumed as the first CDS on January 1, will face a Herculean task. The IAF, for example, strongly believes that it would be operationally irrational to divide the “limited air assets” of the country between different theater commands. General Rawat, however, said: “I am very clear in my mind (about the theater commands). I have shared some informal ideas with the three heads of service, but I will have to discuss it formally with them. ”

The IAF is the one that loses the most with the proposed restructuring. Both the IAF of 1.4 lakh and the Army of more than 12 lakh have seven commands each, headed by Air Marshals or Three Star General Lieutenants, with the Navy of 59,000 troops restricting themselves to only three commands.

The 17 individual service commands, which lack the necessary coordination between them, have led to unnecessary unnecessary expenses and silos mentality. The only two commands of three services are the Andaman and Nicobar geographical command and the functional command of the strategic forces to manage the country’s nuclear arsenal.

When joint commands arise, the IAF is likely to be left alone with the Air Defense Command, along with commands to manage space and training in the future. Although the IAF headquarters will retain some air assets, each theater command will also receive some fighter jets and integral helicopters.

Similarly, the southern peninsular command will integrate the Western Naval Command (General Headquarters in Mumbai), the Eastern Naval Command (Vizag), the Southern Naval Command (Kochi) and the Southern Army Command (Pune).

While the commander of the peninsular theater will deal with maritime boundaries, the Navy headquarters in New Delhi will observe the “big picture” of the Indian Ocean region to safeguard the interests of India that extend from East Africa to Australia and the Strait of Malacca, said Gen Rawat.

The CDS, which also has the task of prioritizing capital acquisitions between services to reduce wasteful spending and increase combat capabilities, said the Navy’s case for a third aircraft carrier would depend on “how the economy is progressing” because it would imply costs huge Similarly, it is important for the IAF to stagger its acquisitions of expensive fighters and other aircraft. This will ensure a much greater service capacity and better maintenance cycles, he added.

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