Revolutionizing India’s Defense: The Future of Theaterisation

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The Indian Armed Forces are in the final stages of developing theaterisation plans to integrate the Army, Navy, and Indian Air Force into specific theatre commands, according to two top government officials familiar with the matter. The initial plan was to create four theatre commands, but a fresh relook is being taken after the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan asked for a reassessment due to the IAF’s objections. One proposal being considered is to create joint theatre commands based on India’s adversaries in the neighborhood, initially focusing on the northern and eastern borders with China, the western borders with Pakistan, and threats in the maritime domain. Locations for headquarters are also being discussed. Additionally, a joint training command and joint logistics nodes are under discussion. Efforts are being made to expedite the process of creating theatre commands given the potential for conflict. The previous plan had excluded certain commands, which led to objections from the IAF. Studies on theaterisation lost momentum after the tragic death of General Rawat, but have picked up again under the current CDS, General Anil Chauhan. The services are studying and evaluating new approaches to theaterisation, and the plan is expected to be finalized and further refined in consultation with the CDS. The IAF has expressed openness to theaterisation as long as it does not compromise the force’s doctrinal aspects. Former Army chief General M M Naravane (retd) has emphasized the need for a national security strategy before proceeding with theaterisation. Army chief General Manoj Pande has also stated the need to establish the right tri-service structures and is currently deliberating on theater command-related issues.

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