NEW DELHI: India will have two to five theatre commands to deal with future security challenges along the western and northern borders and the first one is expected to be operational by 2022, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat said on Monday, rolling out plans for big ticket military reforms.“The study related to the theatre commands will be ordered by the end of this year and it will be completed in three months,” he said.
The CDS said the Western and the Eastern commands of the Indian Navy will be merged into the proposed Peninsular Command and it will take care of security challenges in the entire Indian Ocean region. Gen Rawat said security challenges in J&K will be handled by a dedicated theatre command in a major revamp of existing structures.
The chief of defence staff was talking to a group of journalists on his plans for military modernisation. The government-appointed Gen Rawat as CDS on December 31 to bring in convergence among the three services and restructure military commands to effectively deal with future security challenges.
Gen Rawat also said a new approach of staggered procurement of major military platforms like 114 fighter jets is being firmed up to address the problem of obsolescence.
The chief of defence staff said the proposed peninsular command is likely to take shape by end of 2021 and that its area of the command will range from Sir Creek in western sector to Sunderbans in eastern region. The tri-services command under a naval commander will have air assets as well as support of the Army, and it will take care of entire responsibility of maritime security challenge in the Indian Ocean Region.
“The security of Indian Ocean region has to be dealt with by one commander and he will not be required to get approval from Delhi for operational matters including movement of ships,” said Gen. Rawat. He said the proposed air defence command is likely to be rolled out by middle of next year and certain air assets like missiles of the Indian Army and the Navy will be part of it.
The CDS said that government plans to have a separate training and doctrinal command modelled on similar structure in the US, while a separate command will be set up to take care of logistical requirements of the three services. He said a team headed by Vice Chief of the IAF is conducting a study to set up the air defence command and it has been told to complete the study by March 31.
Features of the new system
There will be cross-staffing in the theatre commands
The Air Defence is primarily the Indian Air Force’s responsibility. However, every service has its own Air Defence systems. This will be integrated.
There are also plans that the medical arm of all the services to begin operating jointly