Theaterisation of armed forces next logical step after appointment of CDS: Army Chief

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October 22, 2020 11:12 AM

At the same time, Gen Naravane said the process to set up the theatre commands needed to be deliberate, thoughtful and well-considered, and its fruition will take a number of years.

Gen Naravane also spoke about the current security scenario and focused on the geostrategic implications on capability development of the Indian Army. (File photo: PTI)

After the “momentous” step of appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the next logical move in military reforms would be to set up integrated theatre commands to synergise the capabilities of the three services during war and peace, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane said on Wednesday.

At the same time, Gen Naravane said the process to set up the theatre commands needed to be deliberate, thoughtful and well-considered, and its fruition will take a number of years. Speaking at an event at the College of Defence Management in Secunderabad, the chief of the 1.3 million-strong Army said there was a need for everyone to work in a spirit of togetherness and trust with the national security interests being of paramount importance.

He added a note of caution and said that there might be a requirement for ”mid-course corrections”, according to a statement released by the Army here. The Chief of Army Staff said he was optimistic about the future of integration of the armed forces, which he said was ”an inevitability” as it would lead to ”tri-services synergy” and optimisation of resources.

The comments by Gen Naravane reflected the force’s thinking as well as readiness to support the mega theaterisation plan being undertaken by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat to enhance the combat capabilities of the armed forces.

In the course of his address, the Chief of Army Staff spoke on a number of issues concerning integration, theaterisation and modernisation of the armed forces in general and the Indian Army in particular. It was ”a momentous one” and that the services needed to ?demonstrate great wisdom and statesmanship in enabling the Chief of Defence Staff, a long standing demand of the armed forces”, he said referring to the appointment of the CDS.

“He added that the next logical step in the process of defence reforms was the ‘formation of Integrated Theatre Commands to synergise the capabilities and combat potential of the three services during war and peace’,” the Army said in its release.

Gen Naravane also spoke about the current security scenario and focused on the geostrategic implications on capability development of the Indian Army. The government had 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.

As per the plan, each of the theatre commands will have units of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, and all of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander. At present, the Army, Navy and the Air Force have separate commands.

In February, the Chief of Defence Staff said the air defence command, to be helmed by the Indian Air Force, would be rolled out by the beginning of next year. He said the proposed peninsula command, to be formed by merging the Indian Navy’s eastern and western commands, is likely to take shape by the end of 2021.

During his visit to Secunderabad, Gen Naravane also visited the Bison division where he was briefed by top commanders on security and operational preparedness of the formation. He commended the formation for their high level of operational preparedness and exhorted all ranks to continue training hard with zeal and be prepared for any future operational challenges, the Army said.

He also visited the TATA Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) at Hyderabad, a joint venture facility of Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems.

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