There have been hiccups in the integration of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, but the creases are being ironed out, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said today. The exercise of integration, the biggest reform in the armed forces in decades, was started this year to bring down expenses, rationalise manpower and ensure that the armed forces fight as a cohesive unit.
To integrate the services, “We have to have understanding of each other’s services,” General Rawat said at a programme in in Kolkata.
“Now, as integration is taking place and we are gradually moving forward in that direction, I think that we have been able to overcome some of the issues that were at stake,” he added.
General Rawat took over as the Chief of Defence Staff in January this year, with the mammoth task of integrating the forces and improve coordination between them. He was also to head the proposed Department of Military Affairs.
Together, it was a “a momentous and comprehensive reform that will help our country face the ever-changing challenges of modern warfare,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted.
Launching a guided missile stealth frigate in Kolkata for the Navy today, General Rawat said integration is needed in case of a conflict anywhere — on land, air or sea. Only operating in synergised manner will help the forces optimise the country’s conventional capabilities, he said.
“All services will retain the niche capabilities,” the Chief of Defence Services said. “Every service has to understand that we have to complement each other. And we cannot operate in single silos,” he added.
The Chief of Defence Staff was looking at proposals suggesting the creation of several theatres of commands, the exact number of which was not decided.
There is to be a Western Theatre Command, and at least one Northern Theatre Command. An Eastern Theatre Command that would likely cover the border areas along the China frontier and a Peninsula Command. An Air Defence Command and Space Command and a multi-service Logistics Command and Training Command, were also under consideration.
A rough three-year deadline was being considered for operationalizing the commands.