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Create joint culture: CDS Gen Chauhan to armed forces as govt looks at rolling out theatre commands

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan delivers a talk on 'Jointmanship: The Way Ahead' on the occasion of the 22nd Maj Gen Samir Sinha Memorial Lecture, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 21, 2024.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The proposed theatre commands will lay the foundation for catapulting the armed forces into the next orbit of military preparedness and war fighting, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan said today.

His comments came as India looks at implementing the ambitious and long-awaited theaterisation plan.

In an address at an event, the Chief of Defence Staff Chief also called upon the three services to create a joint culture as they move towards forming "joint operational structures".

He said the theatre commands will not be an end state but the beginning of the next set of reforms.

The integrated theatre commands will lead to many reforms like single to multi domain operations, fusing space and cyber space into traditional domains, digitisation of battlefield information and visualisation, net centric to data centric among others, he said.

Developing joint culture in the armed forces would be "jointness 2.0" which is the way forward, the Chief of Defence Staff said delivering the Maj Gen Samir Sinha Memorial Lecture.

He said "jointness 1.0" was about better bonhomie and consensus among the services, and as there were no major differences, there is an impetus to move towards the next level which is "jointness 2.0".

Acknowledging the distinct culture of all the three services, Gen Chauhan underscored that there was a need to create a fourth culture in the services.

"We must be able to distill the best of each service, and incorporate the highest common factor, rather than settle for the least common denominator," said the Chief of Defence Staff.

He mentioned various initiatives of symbology that were being processed towards fostering the joint culture, including tri-services participation in national events.

Under the theaterisation model, the government seeks to integrate the capabilities of the army, air force and navy and optimally utilise their resources for wars and operations.

According to the theaterisation plan, each of the theatre commands will have units of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and all of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory.

At present, the Army, Navy and the Air Force have separate commands.

The theatre commands are being planned to integrate the capabilities of the three services and to ensure optimal utilisation of their resources.

In his address, the Chief of Defence Staff termed jointness and integration as pre-requisites to the creation of functional integrated theatre commands, and explained the significance of such commands.

"The creation of such commands will separate the 'operational' functions from the Raise-Train-Sustain (RTS) and other administrative functions, and will allow greater focus of the operational commander to matters of security," he said.

Stressing that the reforms in the Indian defence ecosystem are a necessity, Gen Chauhan said, nation states across the globe are facing a new set of challenges, and current flux in world order is forcing them to review their security strategies.

The rapid and unbridled march of technology is transforming the way future wars will be fought, he added.

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