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India will theatre commands by 2022: CDS Bipin Rawat

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New Delhi, Feb 17, 2020-

India will have two to five theatre commands by 2022, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Monday.

He pointed that in the southern part of the country, India will have a Peninsula command by integrating existing naval eastern and eastern Naval command centres and the Jammu and Kashmir would come under a single be command theatre.

The peninsula command under the Navy that will deal with maritime security should come in earlier as directive for a study is expected to be out by March 31.

It would spread from Sir Creek in Arabian Sea to Sunderbans in Bay of Bengal.

The study should be completed within three to four months and by the end of next year the command under one naval commander should start functioning, General Rawat said.

He also said that by end of the year a study for theaterisation or joint commands will be in place. By 2022 theatre commands should roll out. The number of theatre commands could vary from two to five, the CDS added.

The Chief of Defence Staff is mandated to set up joint commands comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force — in addition to two existing ones.

There are 19 commands as of now and only two of these are tri-service commands. These are the Andaman and Nicobar Command and the Strategic Forces Command, which is in charge of nuclear assets.

General Rawat added 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.

Similarly for Pakistan, a separate command for J&K is on the cards, while a separate one for the international border South of Jammu.

While the Army and the Air Force have seven commands each, the Navy has three commands.

It’s felt that reducing the commands and making them function under one umbrella with representation from all three forces — depending on the region and threat assessment — will make the military more effective.

China and the US function under this model, and there have been suggestions that the Indian military follows a similar tri-service command system.

According to some of the recommendations, the commands can be reduced from existing 19 to 9 with a tri-service mix. This will also include the strategic forces command, cyber command and Special Operations Command.

The Air Force will be the lead agency for Air Defence Command that has already been announced.

General Rawat said that March 31 the study will be completed and the report should be ready by April 10. The implementation order for the air defence command is expected by year end, General Rawat said.

He also said joint training, and uniformity in procurement procedures will be a key priority.  (Agency)

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