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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024

How far has the theater command prepared for the Armed Forces, know why it is important

New Delhi : The country’s ambitious defense reform plan aims to integrate the Army, Navy and Air Force for joint operations in specific enemy-based theaters with defined military objectives during limited conflict or war. The Indian Armed Forces are fine-tuning the final draft for the creation of an integrated theater command. The ambitious defense reform aims to integrate the three defense services – the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF) – to jointly operate in specific adversary-based theaters with defined military objectives during a limited conflict or war.

The government had started in 2019

The government had initiated reforms in 2019 by creating the post of Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and setting up the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to oversee the transformation. In its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had promised to ‘further establish military theater commands for more efficient operations’. Over the past five years, several drafts have been prepared to focus on the best possible model for India’s theater command. The government has not yet given its final approval on the implementation of the scheme. Further discussions are expected in the coming months to fine-tune the current plan to address potential issues, depending on the outcome of the election. Meanwhile, other initiatives to integrate services at the grassroots level have also been implemented. Chief of Defense Staff General Anil Chauhan to enhance military preparedness, establish operational structures, transition to multi-domain and data-centric operations and promote ‘Jointness 2.0’ for a joint culture respecting the uniqueness of each The imminent creation of a unified theater command was announced this month.

What is the situation on theater command in India?

The three defense services currently operate individually under their respective operational commands. Theaterization would involve placing specific units of personnel from the three services under a single theater commander so that they can fight jointly as a single unit in a war or conflict. In this process, manpower and resources of Personal Services will be rationalized. Each of the three services has its own culture and approach. With the creation of theater commands, their personnel, assets, infrastructure and logistics would be integrated. This enables them to work together to achieve defined military objectives in specific theaters covering defined operational areas. The armed forces are already taking steps to bring about better integration between the three services. There are plans to make Mumbai the first tri-service common defense station and set up additional joint logistics nodes across the country to promote integration in logistics requirements and streamline the supply chain and inter-services posting of officers.

Commands and Headquarters

The Indian Express had reported last January that the Army’s latest draft envisioned three enemy-based theater commands. Among these, a western theater command which will counter Pakistan. A Northern Theater Command to answer to China. A maritime theater command responding to threats emanating from the Indian Ocean region. It is planned to establish Western Theater Command in Jaipur and Northern Theater Command in Lucknow. The Maritime Theater Command may be headquartered at Coimbatore, although Karwar and Thiruvananthapuram are also being considered. Earlier drafts prepared in the past have undergone several changes based on inter-service discussions within the Army. There were some plans to create a Joint Logistics Command, a Space Command and a Training Command as well as an Air Defense Command, other theater commands in the Eastern, Northern and Western Commands. However, lack of consensus among the three services on the size, structure and numbers of theater commands resulted in the plans being changed several times over the years before the current plan was arrived at.

How to rationalize existing service commands?

How will the creation of theater commands rationalize existing service commands? At present, the Army and IAF have seven commands each, while the Navy has three. In addition, there are two tri-services commands – Andaman and Nicobar Command, and Strategic Forces Command (SFC). The Headquarters Integrated Defense Staff (HQIDS) is also located here. Following the creation of theater commands, the three command headquarters of the services are likely to be transformed into theater command headquarters. The existing Andaman and Nicobar Command could be subsumed into one of the theater commands (as per current plans, into a maritime theater command), and HQIDS would possibly function under the CDS. The SFC will continue to operate independently as planned.

Who will lead the theater command

According to the report, the three theater commands will be headed by three theater commanders who will probably be of the rank of General or equivalent. According to current plans, theater commanders will report to a National Defense Committee. It is likely to be chaired by the Defense Minister. Additionally, there are also plans to appoint one Vice CDS and one Deputy CDS. The Vice CDS is likely to look after strategic planning, capacity development and procurement-related matters. This would probably be an officer of the rank of General or equivalent. The Deputy CDS will be responsible for operations, intelligence gathering and coordination of allocation of assets between theatres. The Deputy CDS is likely to be a Lieutenant General or equivalent. The three service chiefs will be responsible for the raising, training and maintenance of individual services. However, it is not yet clear whether they will retain some operational roles or not. The responsibility of the operation will be on three theater commanders. However, none of these schemes have yet received final approval from the government.

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