NEW DELHI :
In a major restructuring exercise, India will begin integrating the operations of the Army, Air Force and Navy within the next three years, news reports quoted India’s new chief of defence staff Bipin Rawat on Tuesday.
Rawat said he aims to “develop the services as an Armed Force", integrating capabilities, logistics and manpower within the new military commands, the reports added. The aim of the exercise is to bring down expenses, rationalize manpower and ensure the Armed Forces take on the challenges as a cohesive unit, he said.
The number of commands has not been finalized, but Rawat said he was looking at proposals that would result in the creation of a western theatre command and a northern command that could cover India’s northern borders.
In addition to these commands, which would cover the land frontier against Pakistan and China, the country will also have a peninsula command an air defence command and space command and a multi-service logistics command and training command, Rawat said.
Each theatre command would have an integral Air Force element and depending on the nature of the requirement, additional aircraft could be deployed, he added.
Significant cost cutting in each command will be achieved through common stores management, shared bases, maintenance stocks, and the use of similar weapons. “In co-located stations, there is tremendous scope for the management of resources," Rawat said.
One far-reaching proposal, directly linked to the need to cut down on the huge ₹1.33 trillion pension budget of the Indian Armed Forces is to enable non-officer ranks to work till 58. “One third of the Army, I believe, can work till the age of 58," Rawat said.
At present, soldiers in the Armed Forces are retired between the ages of 37 and 38, as opposed to officers who usually retire at 58.