Theatre Command : Challenges Ahead – UPSC GS3

  • The Indian military continues to work in silos.
  • First Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of India was assigned with the task of building a joint theatre command.
  • However, as per media reports, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is resisting the formation of theatre/functional commands.
Possible reasons for such demands by IAF:
  • Air Force is seen as a supplementary force by Army and Navy.
  • If IAF is divided into small packets, it would seriously degrade the effectiveness of air operations.
  • Historically, the Indian Army has always kept the IAF out of the information loop and demonstrated a penchant to ‘go it alone’. The use of offensive air power close to the Line of Control requires that the force leadership be kept informed.
  • Army commander does not have expertise in deploying Air Force. Air force under command of an Army officer will reduce its effectiveness.
What needs to be done before creation of Integrated theatre commands?
  • It is essential to first define the political objectives and a national security strategy.
  • For instance, the failures of the mightiest militaries in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Indian misadventure in Sri Lanka bear testimony to the lack of clear political objectives and appropriate military strategies.
  • Identify duplication, wasteful resources and practices.
Hence, there is need of an adequate deliberations and discussions with all stakeholders to evolve an appropriate military strategy in a nuclear backdrop.
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