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News Analysis


Integrated Theatre Command

  • 22 Oct 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

As part of defence reforms after the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the government is working on the formation of integrated theatre commands.

Key Points

  • Current Situation:
    • The Indian armed forces currently have 17 commands. There are 7 commands each of the Army and the Air Force. The Navy has 3 commands.
      • Each command is headed by a 4-star rank military officer.
    • There is one joint command in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
      • It is the first Tri-Service theatre command of the Indian Armed Forces, based at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India.
      • It was created in 2001 to safeguard India's strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca by increasing rapid deployment of military assets in the islands.
    • The other tri-service command, the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), looks after the delivery and operational control of the country’s nuclear assets.
  • Recent Developments: The appointment of the CDS and the creation of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) are momentous steps towards the integration and advancement of defence forces.
    • CDS: It is the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999.
      • CDS oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services.
      • As the head of DMA, CDS is vested with the authority in prioritising inter-service procurement decisions.
    • Department of Military Affairs:
      • The DMA is headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
      • Work exclusively pertaining to military matters will fall within the purview of the DMA. Earlier, these functions were the mandate of the Department of Defence (DoD).
    • The next logical step in the process of defence reforms is the formation of Integrated Theatre Commands to synergize the capabilities and combat potential of the three Services during war and peace.
    • Teams headed by the Vice Chiefs of the three Services have been constituted to study and submit recommendations on the formation of various integrated commands.
      • The study on the air defence command is in an advanced stage of completion.
  • Integrated Theatre Command:
    • An integrated theatre command envisages a unified command of the three Services, under a single commander, for geographical theatres (areas) that are of strategic and security concern.
    • The commander of such a force will be able to bear all resources at his disposal — from the Army, the Indian Air Force, and the Navy — with seamless efficacy.
    • The integrated theatre commander will not be answerable to individual Services.
    • Integration and jointness of the three forces will avoid duplication of resources. The resources available under each service will be available to other services too.
    • The services will get to know one another better, strengthening cohesion in the defence establishment.
    • The Shekatkar committee has recommended the creation of 3 integrated theatre commands — northern for the China border, western for the Pakistan border, and southern for the maritime role.

Source: TH

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