General Bipin Rawat. (Photo: ANI)
General Bipin Rawat. (Photo: ANI)

India could have upto five theatre commands: CDS Bipin Rawat

  • Bipin Rawat also said that India was looking to set up an independent theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir
  • One of Rawat’s main responsibilities is to ensure synergy and integration among the three services

NEW DELHI : India could create upto five theatre commands and the new structures would be in place in the next two years, India’s newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat said Monday.

Rawat, who was appointed India’s first chief of defence staff in December, also said that India was looking to set up an independent theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir -- that has been Pakistan sponsored terrorism -- and integrating the western and eastern naval commands to create a single Peninsular Command.

One of Rawat’s main responsibilities is to ensure synergy and integration among the three services. And one of the main objectives of setting up joint or theatre commands is to ensure the best use of military resources to fight future battles.

According to Rawat, a number of studies would be commissioned by the end of this year to evaluate how many theatre commands are needed and the process of setting up the joint commands would start next year. Joint commands would have specific units of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF) under a theatre commander. Each such command will come under the operational control of an officer from any of the three services, depending on the function assigned to that command.

Rawat said Jammu and Kashmir, including the international border with Pakistan, would come under a separate theatre. The number of theatres required would be decided after the study groups submit their reports. The military would also have separate joint commands for logistics and training.

The Peninsular Command, Rawat said, would be responsible for securing India from sea-borne threats and it will have units from the Army and the Air Force. It is likely to be functional the end of next year. The study to look into the feasibility of setting this command is expected to be ordered by 31 March with the report to be submitted three to four months.

The setting up of the Air Defence Command, on the other hand could take up to a year. To be headed by an IAF officer, the Air Defence Command will include air defence resources of all the three services including long range missiles, will come under it, Rawat said.

On procurement, Rawat said he favoured a policy of staggered procurement of big ticket purchases, including acquisition of 114 fighter jets for the IAF. The Navy's demand for a third aircraft carrier will be considered after assessing performance of indigenously-built aircraft carrier, he said adding that submarines would be a priority over the third aircraft carrier for the Navy.

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