Four theatre commands likely to be raised by year-end

Synopsis: The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has chaired a meeting with the Vice Chiefs of the three Services and representatives of Government to iron out differences on the integrated theatre commands creation. 

What is a theatre command? 
  • A theatre command is a military structure wherein all the assets of the army, air force and navy in a particular theatre of war are under the operational control of a three-star general. 
What is the 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. 
  • 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. 
  • The other tri-service command, the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), looks after the delivery and operational control of the country’s nuclear assets. 
What are the four integrated tri-service commands that are being planned? 
  • Air Defence theatre command 
  • Maritime theatre command (A maritime theatre commander will not be appointed right away. The command will be first raised, and commander appointed later) 
  • Integrated eastern theatre command 
  • Integrated western theatre command 
Why is an integrated theatre command being planned? 
  • Major countries including the US and China function on the theatre command concept with the idea of seamless integration among the land, sea and air forces for better coordination and response. 
  • Moreover, the idea behind integrated theatre command is to rationalize war fighting resources, and efficiency of executions and to face threats in an integrated manner. 
  • This means that the proposed Theatre Commands are going to be highly dependent on the interoperability amongst various units of the three services which is not available yet. 
Challenges in creation of Theatre Command: 
  • Objections by Indian Air Force (AIF): IAF fears that it will lose control over its assets and operations if integrated theatre commands come up. Moreover, it also has issues over the naming of the commands. 
  • Moreover, experts have said that there has been no occasion during actual warfare when the three services have not operated with commendable cooperation. Hence, there is no need for an integrated theatre command. 

Source: The Hindu 

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