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Govt working on giving shape to new air defence command by October: Sources

The Air Defence Command will bring all the air assets of the IAF, the Indian Navy and the Indian Army. (A representational image)

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Ministry is likely to make an announcement in October on setting up of a new air defence command under the broad principle of convergence among the three services, people familiar with the development said on Thursday.

The new air defence command will handle certain air assets like missiles of the Indian Army, they said.

A high-level committee was appointed earlier this year to frame contours of the new air defence command with a focus on ensuring jointness among the three services.

The initiative was part of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat's mandate to redesign all existing military commands to help them effectively deal with all future security challenges.

It is learnt that the air defence command is likely to be based in an area under the IAF's Delhi-headquartered Western Command or its Central Command headquartered at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh.

The Air Defence Command will bring all the air assets of the IAF, the Indian Navy and the Indian Army.

In one of his first decisions, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Rawat in January issued directions to prepare a roadmap by June 30 to create the Air Defence Command to further enhance security of India's skies.

The move was part of efforts to bringing in tri-services jointness and synergy including setting up of common "logistics support pools" in stations where two or more services have their presence.

In the last few months, Gen Rawat has held a series of meetings with the IAF brass in giving shape to the air defence command.

Gen Rawat took charge as the country's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on January 1 which was seen as a watershed moment for India's military planning to bring in convergence among the three services.

The newly created department of military affairs (DMA) under Gen Rawat is coordinating implementation of all the futuristic projects including redesigning of existing commands.

The DMA is also working on a proposal to have a peninsula command which is likely to be formed by merging the Indian Navy's eastern and western commands.

As per plan, the tri-services command under a naval commander will have air assets as well as support of the Army, and it will take care of entire responsibility of maritime security challenge in the Indian Ocean Region.

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