National

Govt moves on integrated theatre commands; amends rules to bring three forces under single leadership

Highlights
  • The integration means the manpower and assets of the Army, Navy and IAF will be under the operational control of a single three-star general
  • The move has been implemented especially for the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Command

India has finally taken the first step towards eventually having integrated theatre commands, where all the manpower and assets of the Army, Navy and IAF are under the operational control of a single three-star general in theatre commands, by amending command and control rules for joint organisations and establishments.

Sources said the government has notified new “statutory rules and orders” to ensure an officer from any one service can now “exercise direct command” over personnel from the other two services, who are all governed by different acts and rules, in tri-service organisations.

The move has been implemented especially for the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), which was established as India’s first theatre command in October 2001 but has largely failed to achieve its potential due to internecine turf wars among the three services, general politico-bureaucratic apathy, fund crunches and environmental concerns.

“It might seem a minor structural reform but represents a huge cultural, fundamental shift in the Indian military system, where the three services often pull in different directions. If the country is to have a chief of defence staff (CDS) and theatre commands in the years ahead, this tweaking of the Army, Navy and IAF rules is the first step towards it,” said a top source.

India has finally taken the first step towards eventually having integrated theatre commands, where all the manpower and assets of the Army, Navy and IAF are under the operational control of a single three-star general in theatre commands, by amending command and control rules for joint organisations and establishments.

Sources said the government has notified new “statutory rules and orders” to ensure an officer from any one service can now “exercise direct command” over personnel from the other two services, who are all governed by different acts and rules, in tri-service organisations.

The move has been implemented especially for the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), which was established as India’s first theatre command in October 2001 but has largely failed to achieve its potential due to internecine turf wars among the three services, general politico-bureaucratic apathy, fund crunches and environmental concerns.

“It might seem a minor structural reform but represents a huge cultural, fundamental shift in the Indian military system, where the three services often pull in different directions. If the country is to have a chief of defence staff (CDS) and theatre commands in the years ahead, this tweaking of the Army, Navy and IAF rules is the first step towards it,” said a top source.

There was, for instance, even a proposal to create integrated theatre commands in the shape of one or two (one each for west and east of Nepal) for the northern border with China, a western command for Pakistan, a counterinsurgency operations command and one or two peninsular commands for the maritime borders.

But nothing concrete has come out of it. The armed forces currently have 17 single-service commands, with only two unified commands in ANC and the Strategic Forces Command to handle the country’s nuclear arsenal.

China, meanwhile, has reorganised its 2.3-million People’s Liberation Army into five theatre commands to crank up its offensive capabilities as well as establish better command-and-control structures.

Its western theatre command now handles the entire Line of Actual Control with India instead of the earlier Chengdu Military Region in the east and the Lanzhou Military Region towards the north, as was reported by TOI.

By: TNN

Source Link: CLICK HERE

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