‘Theatre Commands on Track, Four Top Commanders to Draw Up Their Structure’

Source : News18

‘Theatre Commands on Track, Four Top Commanders to Draw Up Their Structure’

Setting up the joint theatre commands will take around three years with four top officers from the three defence services – Indian Army, Navy and Air Force – first charting out their exact organisational structures, a top government official said on Wednesday.

The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force currently have 17 commands together. The plans, at present, are to roll them into four integrated theatre commands — one maritime theatre command, one Air Defence Command and two land-based theatre commands — the western theatre command and the eastern theatre command.

However, the Army’s northern command and the AOC (J&K) of the IAF will be kept out of the theatre commands at present, keeping in mind security implications.

Once the theatre commands are formed, the other officers commanding the rest of the commands will assume the role of deputy theatre commanders as staff officers.

According to the government official, four commanders-in-chief from the services will be nominated by the services to draw up and define the exact organisational structure of the theatre commands and their composition.

Based on their reports, expected in a year, a decision will be taken on their final structure, the official said, adding that the process of raising the theatre commands should take around two to three years after that.

Meanwhile, these commanders-in-chief will continue to have a dual role, the official quoted above said. This means the officers will continue looking at their current commands as they work on their reports on the theatre commands, which most likely they will command once they are set up.

As per government sources, the western theatre command is likely to be headquartered in Jaipur, while the eastern theatre command will be likely based out of Kolkata or Lucknow.

The Air Defence command will be headquartered in either Jodhpur, Gandhinagar or Allahabad and the Maritime theatre command likely to be at Karwar or Kochi.

Once the theatre commands are formed, the operations branch from the existing commands will go to the theatre commands first. Subsequently, logistics and other departments will be subsumed into the theatre commands from the existing commands, after which they will cease to exist.

Talking about the current situation at the Line of Actual Control with China, the official said there is a trust deficit and suspicion on both sides, which is why the disengagement has been gradual.

“However, the talks have been moving well in the right direction. The disengagement have been taking place progressively, but we will have to maintain a very high level of alertness,” the official said.

After the last corps commanders talks between India and China, both sides have disengaged from Gogra Post in eastern Ladakh.

The next military level talks will discuss further disengagement of the Indian and Chinese troops from the Hot Springs area. Disengagement from both sides have already taken place in the Pangong Tso region.

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