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Progress made in deliberations for Tri-Services Theaterisation plan: IAF Chief

Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari. (Photo: IAF website)

NEW DELHI (PTI): Definite progress has been made in ongoing deliberations for the Theaterisation plan and the Indian Air Force (IAF) remains fully committed to the Tri-Services integration for enhancing comprehensive national combat power, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said on Sunday.

In an interview to PTI, the Chief of Air Staff said the IAF is hopeful that the final structures, as and when they come out, would be potent, robust and capable of tackling the existent and future threats.

"The process of Theaterisation of the Indian Armed Forces is at a deliberation stage. There are a few issues which are being discussed and definite progress has been made in this aspect," he said.

As per the 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 under an operational commander.

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

Initially, a plan was firmed up for the creation of an Air Defence Command and Maritime Theatre Command.

"While the deliberations are ongoing, we are hopeful that the final structures, as and when formed, would be potent, robust and capable of tackling the existent and future threats," the Chief of Air Staff said.

"Therefore, the joint structures that we may form shall be specific to our environment, adequately deliberated and war-gamed to clearly annunciate tasks and roles of each service," he said.

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the three services are on the "same page" when it comes to these broad aspects of formulation of joint structures.

"The IAF remains fully committed to integration that brings about transformation and enhancement of the comprehensive national combat power," he said.

"We are sanguine that the armed forces will meet the aspirations of the nation and arrive at a model that is most effective and is future ready," the IAF Chief added.

He said the IAF is committed to joint operational planning based on principles of achieving enhanced combat power and efficiency in operations of armed forces.

The Chief of Air Staff was asked about the perception that the IAF is not very keen on the theaterisation initiative.

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

The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) headed by India's first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat last year had asked all the three services to carry out independent studies on the theaterisation plan for its rollout.

The deliberations on the theaterisation plan slowed down a bit following the death of Gen Rawat in a helicopter crash in December last.

"My vision for the IAF is to build on the strong foundations of our service and make it further effective and ever ready to protect the sovereignty of our nation," the IAF Chief said, in reply to a separate question.

"We aim to achieve this through enhancement of entire spectrum of our operational capabilities, induction of modern technology and by ensuring better serviceability and availability of our assets," he said.

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the coming years would demand more rigorous, regular and realistic training in multi-domain warfare.

"Agility in thought and action through seamlessly integrated command and control structures should provide us with enhanced responsiveness and lethality," he said.

"At the same time, we continue to work tirelessly to provide better working and living conditions for all our air warriors through improvement in our infrastructure and evolving transparent and contemporary human resource policies," he noted.

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