BENGALURU: India is in an advanced stage of integrating the three defence services in forming unified theatre commands to enhance the capabilities of the forces while ensuring greater synergy among them in various combat zones. This is with an aim to make the armed forces more capable, efficient and self-reliant.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “We are moving in the direction of taking the initiatives of integration of armed forces to their logical conclusion. Integration will be ensured at theatre commands and down at all levels, from procurement, logistic support, capability building to training and indigenisation so that the armed forces become more efficient and self-reliant.”
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said the identification of regions of military concerns and designation of theatre commands will be based on tasks, threats, opportunities and assets with the three services. “We are moving towards a maritime theatre command, joint air defence structure and land-centric integrated theatre command for our land borders,” he said in his address at the inaugural session of the three-day conclave to commemorate the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
He said they have studied theatre command modules in various countries, including the USA, UK, Russia and China to adopt some of the best practices to meet India’s requirements. Gen Rawat said the framework of a joint and integrated command and control would be structured in a manner that provides operational flexibility to pursue strategic objectives.
Integration of existing systems is need of the hour, says Gen Rawat
Swift and concerted response by the three services with quick decision-making is the prerequisite in modern-day warfare, he said. He said the service chiefs are likely to retain operational control and it is progressing on a consensus-based approach with detailed discussions at various levels.
“We are at present in the advanced stages of forming contours of the structures and processes required for this very important transformation,” he said, adding that after the proposal is finalised it will be operationalised on the orders of the Union government.
Existing structures at the headquarter level also need to be integrated and augmented for joint operations and a study has been undertaken for that, he said. Later talking to the media, Gen Rawat said they have not set any timeline for finalising the theatre command. “We are moving rapidly and we will take all the services on-board to create theatre commands that suit our requirements.
There is no point in setting a timeline. When we set timelines, we start working in haste. Creating an organisation and getting that organisation structure in place takes a long time,” he added. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his inaugural address, said, “We are moving in the direction of taking the initiatives of integration of armed forces to their logical conclusion.
Integration will be ensured at theatre commands and down at all levels from procurement, logistic support, capability building, training and indigenisation so that the armed forces become more efficient and selfreliant.” Rajnath Singh said they now have the ‘Chief of Defence Staff ’ and ‘Department of Military Affairs’ in the Defence Ministry and they will again reiterate the same understanding and synergy which was seen in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. He termed that war as a shining example of integration of the three services of the armed forces, depicting the importance of planning, training and fighting together.