In a historic move that attracted comparatively little media and national attention due to the prevailing election fever; the PM Mr Narendrabhai Modi took a bold political decision to create Tri – Services Commands. A long pending move caught in inter services haggling and lack of national leadership. History will record that in this sorry episode, the guilty party were the Airforce brass who held their cadre and service interests above national interests and in this they got more than a little help from the MOD bureaucracy with very parochial cadre interests. That he over rode the bureaucracy both the civilian and the military heralds the arrival of a politician on the national stage who for the first time has acted like the head of the Government with national interests in mind and a mandate to the people.
The Theatre commands will ensure that myopic and short sighted moves by the brass who have planned for fighting their wars in their individual service silos will finally start joint planning and weapon acquisitions. To elaborate on the blunders :-
Army – The raising of a Mountain Strike Corps wherein troops based in the plains are envisaged to fight in the Tibetan plateau against acclimatised troops of the PLA with better internal infrastructure ! A barely concealed move for creating more career advancement opportunities while the existing budget allocations barely caters to maintain the existing strength with little for modernisation.
Navy – Basing itself on expensive power projection / sea control platforms like aircraft carriers that have historically proved to be white elephants in all our previous wars against our next door much smaller neighbour. An inherited vision to control the straits of Hormuz and Malacca from the British who were a global power ! No political directive to change came from our national leadership after Independence and the Admirals sailed on in service to Her Majesty’s long forgotten imperial interests !!!
Airforce – Planning to continue with imported toys which will fly to the tunes of their manufacturers in an Infowar era, rather than advising the Government to strategically acquire SAAB and leapfrogging into a modern force based on indigenous technology. The Flyboys have not been informed about the arrival of Information War.
These are but initial steps, to deliver on his slogan of lesser government and more governance. The Prime Minister will also have to ensure a much leaner permanent officer cadre with longer tenures at the top and reduce the Short Service commissions to five years and make it more attractive by giving them additional marks for the civil services and permanent deputations to the central police forces. The restructuring of the MOD, a 5 Star CDS and the Defence PSU’s should also be carried out simultaneously to complete the task.
These are all suggestions that will never be made by any committee of government servants. The vision of the masters and the servants will always be different, so the National leadership should give directives and the bureaucracies must be told to implement. The bureaucracies will scream, but the nation will benefit.
PM Modi issues directives to set up new tri-services commands
Under the new commands, resources of all the three services would be pooled together under the command of a single officer.
Seeking to bring in major reforms in the country’s defence forces, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Ministry of Defence to initiate steps towards creating theatre commands for the military.
Under a theatre commands, all the troops and resources of the three forces – Army, Navy and Air Force – would be combined and put under the command of one officer, who would be from either of the three serivces and who would determine their use.
At the combined commanders conference headed by the prime minister, the Integrated Defence Staff under the Defence Ministry was asked to prepare a roadmap for theatre commands and new initiatives would be taken by this year-end, senior Defence Ministry sources told India Today.
APPOINTMENT OF NEW FOUR STAR GEN ALSO BEING CONSIDERED
The three services had made a detailed presentation to the prime minister at the conference, which was held recently. As part of defence reforms, the government is also appointing a new four star general to looking after the issues related to three services.
All these structures of proposed command would be provided in the roadmap by the military officers under the guidance of political leadership the sources stated.
At the conference, the IAF had raised questions over the command structure and equipment integration under the theatre commands but everybody recognised the need for creating new military structures.