Indian military to have separate theatre command for IOK

February 18, 2020

NEW DELHI: India will have two to five theatre commands to deal with future security challenges along the frontiers with Pakistan and China, including one for Indian Occupied Kashmir and a...

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NEW DELHI: India will have two to five theatre commands to deal with future security challenges along the frontiers with Pakistan and China, including one for Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and a Peninsular Command, Indian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said on Monday. The proposed Peninsula Command will be formed by merging the navy’s western and eastern commands and will spread from the Sir Creek near the Arabian Sea to the Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal. 'Theatre command', also called joint commands, will look to provide all assets for war under a single commander.

Rawat also said that the planned Air Defence Command, which will combine the air assets of the army, air force and navy, will be rolled out by mid-2021. Thereafter, the Peninsular Command will be rolled out by the end of next year. He added that India will have theatre commands by 2022.

He added that a new approach of staggered procurement of major military platforms such as the 114 fighter jets is being finalised to address the problem of obsolescence. He also hinted that the navy’s plans to have a third aircraft carrier may not materialise. He explained that while the navy would have two aircraft carriers, as the submarine force is dwindling the priority should be for submarines.

On theatre commands on the Pakistan front, the CDS said there is a plan to have a separate command for IOK and one for the International Border south of Jammu.

Rawat said that the tri-services Peninsular Command will be under a naval commander and will have air assets and support from the army. It will be responsible for dealing with maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean Region.

“The security of Indian Ocean Region has to be dealt with by one commander and he will not be required to get approval from Delhi for operational matters including movement of ships,” said Rawat.

Rawat also said that the proposed Air Defence Command will have air assets such as missiles from the army. The navy will be a part of it as well. He said a team headed by the Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force is conducting a study to set up the command and it has been instructed to complete the study by March 31. “Then orders will be issued for implementation of the study. We should have the shape of the Air Defence Command by the first half of next year,” Rawat said.

The CDS also said that the government plans to have a separate training and doctrinal command, similar to the structure in the US. A separate command to look into the logistical requirements of the three services will also be setup.

Rawat said that the aim is to make India’s first theatre command by 2022. He added that there would be two to five theatre commands.

He said that there is an option of having either one command for China or two separate commands; one East of Nepal and another West of Nepal. Currently, the three defence services have their individual commands. It is believed that by integrating commands there will be better jointness and integration between the services.



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