What is Theatre Command, why India needs it

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On January 1st 2020 when India got its first CDS General Bipin Rawat, Mandate from the government was very clear. He has to bring jointness and Synergy among Army, Navy, and Air Force.   Essentially theatre commands are Geographic units where all assets in that particular geographical area Army Navy and Air Force are commanded by one theatre Commander.  For example, India’s border with China. If you have one theatre command here, all assets of the Army Navy and Air Force in this particular geographical area will come under its jurisdiction. And under the command of one theatre Commander. So, when you go to war, you are agile, Compact and complete unit and the theatre Commander has access to a diverse kind of resources to launch a counter-attack.

Presently among the Army Navy and Air Force we have 17 commands. When you look at the China border at the LAC, among the three services there are eight commanders which means eight commands are responsible just for the border with China. While China has already reorganized itself into theatre commands. They have just one large Western theatre command that is looking at the border with India. Where one man is commanding all the resources in this geographical area.

The fact is that the need for theatre commands has been felt for a long time. Recommendations were made after the Kargil war in fact recommendations are still being made which is why we are not sure how many Theatres commands we will have. But we definitely know that the first one to come possibly by the middle of this year. It will be the Air Defence command which will come under the Indian Air Force. It will be based in Pryagraj and all assets of the army   Navy and Air Force will come under this theatre command, and it will be commanded by a three-star  Air Force officer. Similarly, after that we will have  a peninsula command, which will possibly be based  at Karwar. It’s area of operation will be the Indian Ocean region and it will come under a naval officer’s command.

We are not clear about is how many land commands will be created. We will have three land commands or will we have five land commands? So, there are multiple proposals on the table. There could be two theatre commands for China and up to four for  Pakistan or there could be one for Pakistan  three for China. That is something still being worked out.  Where is the money India have the money to create these theatre commands as it were the fact is that we are low on money. The fact is that only one point eight percent of the GDP is given to defence and almost sixty one percent of it goes to pay pensions. So where is the money?   Probably. there will be no new infrastructure that will be created for these theatre commands. Whatever is available. We will make do with that.

Now the question is who will these theatre commanders report to?  It is being said that the three land theatre commands will report to the Army Chief the peninsula command will report to the Navy Chief and the Air Defence command will report to the Air Force Chief but eventually. As time goes on and all systems are in place the idea is for all theatre commanders to report to the CDs.

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