The Indian government might soon give the green signal to a long pending proposal of creating a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) office and theatre commands.
According to this report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Ministry of Defence to create theatre commands for the military – involving all three wings – at the Combined Commanders’ Conference which concluded in January.
The move is aimed at not only reforming the armed forces but to enable a more robust, effective and coordinated command structure to handle both war and peacetime situations.
A theatre command is a system in which parts of the three wings are placed under the command of a single commander, who can be a very senior officer of the Army, Navy or Air Force.
China has five theatre commands – Eastern Theatre Command with headquarters in Nanjing, Southern Theatre Command with headquarters in Guangzhou, Western Theatre Command with headquarters in Chengdu, Northern Theatre Command with headquarters in Shenyang, and Central Theatre Command with headquarters in Beijing.
The Western Theatre Command oversees China’s border with India.
The United States, too, has a system almost similar to the theatre commands. It is called Unified Combatant Command and includes at least two military departments of the country under each command.
Unlike the Chinese theatre commands, the US UCC is global with respective headquarters spread across the world.
The proven effectiveness of such commands is one of the major reasons why the need for theatre commands has been talked about previously.
The report says that the Integrated Defence Staff has been asked to prepare a roadmap for theatre commands and a decision for the same would be taken later this year.
Besides the theatre command, the need for a CDS officer too has been argued about in the past. The report says that the government will be appointing a four star rank officer to head the CDS, which will have command over all three services.