Commander-in-chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command can take up cases of all personnel
People familiar with the move said the notification should have come years ago as it was causing functional problems in a tri-service environment at the ANC.india Updated: Mar 20, 2018 07:58 IST
Sixteen years after India’s first tri-services command was raised at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the government has vested powers in its commander-in-chief to take disciplinary action against personnel from all the three services, ending the practice of forwarding such cases to their respective service headquarters.
Two persons familiar with the move said the notification should have come years ago as it was causing functional problems in a tri-service environment at the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC). “It’s a much delayed small step to improve the functioning at the local level there. I don’t think it has any significant implication in terms of synergising the functioning of the three services at a broader level,” one of them said.
Describing the move as cosmetic, experts said linking it to the larger objective of creating theatre commands or appointing a chief of defence staff was nothing more than wishful thinking. If and when such integrated commands are raised, the assets of all three services would come under the operational control of a three-star officer from any of the three services, depending on the function assigned to that command.
“Vesting these powers in the commander-in-chief after 16 years is just symbolism. It’s another sign of the half-hearted and lukewarm attitude towards creating jointmanship,” said former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash (retd), the first commander-in-chief of the Port Blair-based command. He said the “basic requirement” took 16 years to fulfil. “It’s ridiculous to have a commander-in-chief who can’t take decisions in disciplinary/vigilance cases, and these were being referred to service headquarters,” added Prakash.
Military affairs expert Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd) shared the view. “These procedural issues of command and control involving personnel of three services in a unified command have been on the cards for years. This is a procedural issue and no significant breakthrough in terms of tri-service jointness,” he said.