According to an official report, before commencing the raising of much required rationalised structures for countering adversaries, around six months have been provided to the Indian Army, the Indian Airforce and Indian Navy services by the department of military affairs (DMA) till mid-2022 in order to respond to its final military theatre commands proposal.
Along with mixed element brigades, theatre commands have already been integrated by the neighbouring state China who is now Reading Pakistan to also perform its warfighting systems with theatre commands.
The final structure has reportedly been sent to the three service headquarters for giving the considered view in writing to the defence ministry in the next 180 days by the Department of Military Affairs which fall under Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as per officials in the know of the development. It is very well understood that new commands will be functioning by the end of 2022 which is evidently indicated as once the army Navy and Airforce comes back to the Department of Military Affairs with their objections or suggestions before the process of raising theatre command begins with the senior military commanders.
With the division of the air assets among respective theatre commands, while the army and the Navy are all for theatre commands the air force is trying to Reconcile with the same. As a part of the committee which is been headed by the permanent Chief of staff or the chief of Defence Staff in the case, fuelling discontent and new hurdles against the theatre commands proves to be a fact that the service chiefs shall no longer be Numero Uno of the respective military branches but on the other hand, they shall only be responsible for the training and prioritisation of the hardware purchases.
All from the pressure points
The Consulting of the Defence Ministry to all and sundry for military theatre commands is because of this resistance to change or Reform by the three services along with the pressure that has developed from the retired ex-servicemen lobby.
For a fact, the entire 3488 of the line of actual control is faced with three northern, eastern and Central commands of the Indian Army along with similar three commands of the Indian Air Force, while it is handled by the Western theatre command of the People’s Liberation Army which includes elements of the artillery, rocket regiments, air force and armour. While the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army reports to their respective chiefs similar in world war 2 who in turn report to the Defence Minister along with a dotted line to the Prime Minister of India, the People’s Liberation Army theatre commander directly reports to the Central Military Commission that falls under the President of China.
An indirect route
While all the services operate within their own silos and rarely are on the same wavelength on crucial issues facing the security of the nation, even the Indian Navy can be witnessed divided into Western and Eastern commands whose commanders are bound to report to the chief of Naval Staff and on the other hand, the Andaman and Nicobar commander which is the key to any sea battle in future, reports to the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff. Apart from that, since the 1999 Kargil War, all the services have been talking about joint manship or battle synergy.
Amidst continuous state, general elections and by-elections, India which is often described as a raucous and chaotic democracy takes its own time to Reform and rationalize the Indian military, while it is faced with an authoritarian communist China that is ruled by a dictator for life and a quasi-democracy in Pakistan where it is evident that the army is forever in power and rules the roost.