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Changing a monolith

The plans currently afoot to restructure the military raise several questions about the command structure and accretion of power

Topics
Indian military | Indian Army | Indian Air Force

Ajai Shukla  |  New Delhi 

Ajai Shukla

The most far-reaching structural change to the military that the (MoD) is currently evaluating relates to restructuring the army, navy and (IAF) into integrated theatre commands. This involves merging 17 single-service commands into a smaller number of joint-service commands, in which the combat capabilities of all three services are synergised to create greater battlefield effect. To plan, oversee and implement this essential reorganisation, the government created the post of a tri-service Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and, on January 1, 2020, elevated the army chief at that time, General Bipin Rawat, to be the first CDS. In the 15 months since then, much work has been done, but crucial questions remain: Who will the theatre commanders report to in wartime? Will their boss be the CDS, who will directly control combat operations? Or will they report to a Defence Council — an unwieldy committee, headed by the defence minister.

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First Published: Thu, April 01 2021. 23:39 IST
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