Military To Propose Setting Up US-Style Unified Commands

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New Delhi: PMO is keen on a proposal that would establish unified commands in different areas of the country. 2Each command would have one officer in charge of the resources of all the three services.

3Currently, such a command is in place only in Andaman and Nicobar. 4US military functions on the basis of such theatre commands; China recently adopted the practice.

The armed forces are set to deliver a presentation to PM Narendra Modi on the creation of theatre commands. Each command would combine the resources of the Army, Navy and Air Force under one commander, who would be from either of three services.

Signalling a major restructuring of the armed forces, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be given a detailed presentation by the armed forces on the creation of theatre commands in the country to bring in better coordination among the three armed forces.

The presentation would be made by the chairman of the Chiefs of Staffs Committee and Navy’s Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba during the Combined Commanders’ Conference to be held at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradoon on January 21, sources told Mail Today here.

A detailed report in this regard has already been prepared by the services with inputs from all stakeholders, the sources said. A ‘theatre command’ would mean that the resources of all three forces will be placed at the command of senior military commander. The move would be on the lines of how military commands operate in United States and China, which recently made the change too.

Explaining how it would work, a source said that the country is divided into four to five major areas and the assets and personnel of the Army, Navy and Air Force are put under one officer who can belong to any of the three services. In the Indian context, the country can be divided into geographical theatres like southern peninsula, mountainous borders with Pakistan and China in the north, the deserts and plains with Pakistan and the central and eastern borders with China.

The commands can be given to the respective services based on the terrain. For example, a Navy officer can be made in-charge of the southern theatre comprising the eastern and western seaboard with all naval, Army and Air Force assets under him as the fighting would be in the maritime zone, the sources said.

“The Prime Minister’s Office is very keen on the proposal which was initiated after the NDA government under Modi came to power and is considered very important for increasing jointness in the forces,” the sources said.

In his maiden meeting with commanders, Modi had expressed anguish at the lack of coordination among them and asked them to work towards more joint operations rather than remaining in silos.

In 2015, after China re-structured its military commands, the Army was asked by the government to work on creation of theatre commands and work out its command and control structures based upon the threat perceptions.

World’s most powerful military power America also works on the basis of theatre commands but their theatre areas include several countries and sometimes continents while the Chinese recently divided their military into six theatre commands.

In comparison with China, India has 17 single-service commands with seven each of Army and Air Force and three of the Navy. The commands operate with lot of inter-service rivalry.

The CCC is also likely to review the functioning of nation’s only tri-service operational command functioning in Andaman and Nicobar Command as it functions with a naval head and deputies from Air Force and Army.

The CCC will also take up several other issues for reforms, including the creation of the post of a new General to be known as Permanent, Chairman Chiefs of Staffs Committee.

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