Centre, forces refine theaterisation plans before seeking CCS approval

Updated on Jun 18, 2021 04:55 AM IST
Different aspects related to theaterisation were discussed and examined in detail by top government officials
Theaterisation refers to placing specific units of the army, the navy and the air force under a theatre commander.(AP)
Theaterisation refers to placing specific units of the army, the navy and the air force under a theatre commander.(AP)
By, New Delhi

The defence ministry and the armed forces are refining the military’s theaterisation plans through internal consultations and detailed discussions with other ministries involved before seeking the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to implement the long-awaited military reform to optimally utilise the resources of the armed forces, senior officials familiar with the developments said on condition of anonymity on Thursday.

Different aspects related to theaterisation were discussed and examined in detail by top government officials who reviewed a draft cabinet note on new joint structures at a meeting held in South Block earlier this month, said an official.

The key points discussed included the executing authority for theatre commands, the geographies they will control, command and control structures, budgeting, extending the service of senior three-star officers who will take over as theatre commanders and placing some paramilitary forces under the commands, said a second official. Some of these issues involve the finance and home ministries.

Theaterisation refers to placing specific units of the army, the navy and the air force under a theatre commander. Such commands are to be led by an officer from any of the services, depending on the roles assigned.

HT reported in February that India was set to begin a formal roll-out of its long-awaited theaterisation plan, with the Air Defence Command and the Maritime Theatre Command likely to be launched by May. Deliberations on the proposal may take more time as all stakeholders have to be brought on board. “Processes have to be followed before the proposal is sent to the CCS for approval. We have to have more discussions to iron out the details... But there will be no inordinate delay,” said the first official.

Apart from the Air Defence and Maritime Theatre Commands, India is expected to have three other integrated commands to secure its western, northern and eastern fronts. In addition, a logistics command is in the works to avoid duplication of efforts and resources. “Some paramilitary forces, which come under the home ministry, may be subsumed into the theatre commands. The coast guard will also come under the Maritime Theatre Command...,” said the second official.

Experts said building consensus among stakeholders was crucial to take the theaterisation plan forward. “A final decision will be taken after due deliberations to streamline all aspects related to theatre commands. I hope theaterisation is accorded top priority,” said former director general of military operations Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd).

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