Indian army and navy favor theater commands, air force plays lone ranger role | Latest India News
Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat called a meeting of the three services and other stakeholders on Wednesday to understand their concerns about theater commands and iron out the differences before working on the increase. of the maritime and air defense commands this year. The Ministry of Defense had granted acceptance in principle to theater commands in 2017 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over the reorganization mandate to General Rawat.
Earlier this month, after a presentation, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh asked General Rawat to call a stakeholder meeting and discuss all issues up to date before submitting the command concept of the theater to Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for final approval. Majority nations, including the tiny Maldives in the mighty United States, operate on the concept of theater command with the idea of seamless integration between land, sea and air forces for better coordination and response. As China reorganized its seven military districts into five theater commands, Pakistan requested Beijing’s support to help its forces be reorganized according to the same military concept as well.
Although there have been media reports indicating that the whole process could be delayed, the Ministry of Defense, Indian Army and Indian Navy are fully in favor of activating theater commands with the Indian Air Force is digging a lonely groove on even matters like the appointment of commands. Since the end of the Kargil War in 1999, the Indian Air Force has had its own version of articulation and integration for the sole purpose of keeping its air resources undivided and protecting its own territory. The point is that even today, official army files are labeled Integrated Headquarters, Army (Ministry of Defense). Navy files are labeled Integrated Headquarters, Navy, but Air Force files are still labeled Air Headquarters only. That says a lot about the Air Force’s vision of integrating the three services.
A senior military commander explained the background and said: “Those who have doubts are confused and overwhelmed. Is the corporatization of the boards of directors of ammunition factories the result of 100% consensus or is it based on efficient and better management of resources. Leadership in the military is expected to make decisions in the best interests of security ensuring optimal and efficient management of resources. Whatever the best way for us to reach the goal, this is the way to go.
Under the current concept of theater command, there will be three land commands – the north comprising only Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the east comprising an area ranging from Himachal to Arunachal Pradesh and the west comprising an area stretching from the Punjab to the south. Apart from this there will be an Air Defense Command and a Maritime Theater Command with the Andamans and Nicobar Command under its jurisdiction. The maritime and air defense command will be reinforced by the on-duty commanders-in-chief after the announcement this year and will begin operating next year under the leadership of the newly appointed theater commanders. The theater commanders will be chosen from among the acting chiefs of the three services with the air defense command passing under an air marshal and the maritime theater command under a vice-admiral without the creation of new posts.
With Pakistan to the west and China on its eastern flank, the northern command will remain a single unit led by an army general, as the theater is expected to remain active on the line of control and the actual line of control for the time to come.
Besides the division of its air resources and issues such as rotation between services for theater commanders, the IAF’s concern is the perceived dilution of the air chief‘s powers as theater commanders will be in charge of operations and will report directly to the President, to the Heads of the Staff Committee with three Heads as members. This concept is similar to the American concept where the Chief of Staff is only responsible for supply and training while theater commanders report to the Secretary of Defense.
The current Indian Army command structure is lopsided with the Indian Army having seven commands, a much smaller Indian Air Force having a similar number, and the Indian Navy having three commands. This structure will be streamlined as part of the theater command concept with the Indian Navy expected to have one more commander at the post of chief.
With the Chinese PLA already operating as an integrated unit under Western Theater command along the 3,488 km Real Line of Control (LAC), the Indian military must pull itself together and act quickly on theater commands for a response. strong and strong to the opponent in the future. India has no other options.