NEW DELHI: As India begins work on the ambitious theaterisation plan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said that enhancing jointness is essential and that inputs from all stakeholders would be taken into consideration for the new structure.
In an address at a conference of the top commanders of the Indian Air Force (IAF), he also referred to the “volatile” situation on India’s borders and asserted that the armed forces need to be prepared to respond at a short notice to any contingency, officials said.
The defence minister appreciated the IAF for maintaining a high level of preparedness, ability to respond on short notice and displaying high standards of professionalism in carrying out operational and peacetime tasks, they said.
The commanders of the IAF will carry out a comprehensive review of India’s security challenges along the borders with China and Pakistan at the conference from November 10-12.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari briefed Singh on various operational aspects of the IAF.
In his address, Singh said that the role of IAF in future conflicts is crucial and it needs to harness the capabilities and opportunities offered by artificial intelligence, big data handling and machine learning.
“Expounding on theaterisation, he mentioned that enhancing jointness is essential and the structure should be evolved after closely examining various options, and inputs from all stakeholders would be taken into consideration,” the IAF said in a statement.
The armed forces are likely to firm up by the middle of next year a roadmap for rolling out the theatre commands that are expected to ensure optimum utilisation of the military resources and enhance India’s war-fighting capability.
According to the plan, each of the theatre commands will have units of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and all of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander.
Recently, the department of military affairs (DMA) asked the three services to complete their studies on the proposed theatre commands by April so that the plan to create the new structures can be expedited.
The defence minister also highlighted efforts in the field of indigenisation of military hardware through ‘Make in India’ initiative and said it is showing results.
He said the orders of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Mk 1A and C-295 transport aircraft will open new opportunities in the indigenous aerospace sector.
In September, India signed a nearly Rs 20,000 crore contract with Airbus Defence and Space to procure 56 C-295 transport aircraft to replace the Avro-748 planes of the IAF.
Under the agreement, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in “fly-away” condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain.
The subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.
The defence minister also exhorted the commanders to brainstorm to evolve viable solutions towards the theme of the conference, ‘Ensuring Certainty amidst Uncertainities’.
In his address, the Chief of Air Staff emphasised on the need to develop multi-domain capability in order to give a swift and befitting response to any misadventures by India’s adversaries.
He also emphasised the need for joint training with the Indian Army and Indian Navy to enable synergised application of combat power in future conflicts.
Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari complimented all the commanders for maintaining a high state of readiness despite challenges posed by the pandemic, the IAF said.
“Uncertainty in the geopolitical landscape makes it an imperative for the armed forces to train, equip and adapt to rapid changes,” the IAF said.
It said the commanders will discuss and brainstorm situations that may affect national security and focus on measures to enhance operational capability.
“Issues pertaining to strengthening training and optimising human resources policies for effective utilisation of manpower will also be discussed,” it added.