Gen Rawat holds meeting of service chiefs, discuss theatre command issues

Chief of defence staff Gen Bipin Rawat met the three service chiefs to discuss the creation of integrated theatre commands, with more discussions on the matter to happen soon.

A meeting was held by General Bipin Rawat held a five-hour meeting in the presence of three service chiefs, vice chiefs and integrated defence staff officers above the rank of major general and equivalent to explain to them the proposed military theatre commands with a vision to synergise military operations for rapid response to future conflicts.

There is no urgency in the creation of the theatre command structures and the effort would be to get approval of the government for creating new structures. The officers given the charge would be senior officers from the three services and would serve till their superannuation. India is working for creating war-fighting theatres which would be solely responsible for specific areas.

China, India’s main military threat, has already reorganised its military into theatre commands and is now helping client Pakistan to shed its imperial legacy and reform its military. While India faces Chengdu-based Western Theatre Command on its northern border along the LAC, Pakistan except for its Peshawar-based XI Corps and Quetta-based XII Corps has deployed its entire military to face India.

The three forces are still discussing the issue among themselves to enhance coordination in times of war. The first step in the direction of the theatre commands was the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff on January 1, 2020.

The process of creating the new theatre commands is being led by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat. But internal differences over the structure and scope of the theatre commands have come out in public with Rawat terming the Indian Air Force as a support arm of the Indian military in a television interview. This description was opposed by the Indian Air Force chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria who said that airpower had a much bigger role to play than just a supporting role.

Under the military theatre commands, the commanders will directly report to the chairman, COSC, who in turn will task them on the advice of the military chiefs or members of the committee.

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