- The plan for India's theater commands is similar to those in the United States and China, where theater leaders have a four-star rank.
- The Intelligence command will make sure that the theater commands and the service offices in Delhi have access to information about their needs in real time.
HT has learned that the Defense Ministry is putting the finishing touches on a plan that will give a boost to its efforts to create theater commands or “jointsmanship” of the three services. At the heart of this bold idea are four-star theater commanders.
That would put the three theater leaders, who are expected to be in charge of two land theaters and one maritime theater, on the same level as the three chiefs of services, with the Chief of Defence Staff on top of all six.
Even though the government isn’t saying much about the military theater commands, it is known that each command will focus on a different enemy and that there will be one marine theater command for the Indo-Pacific. Importantly, the government has decided to make sure that other verticals like Cyber, Space, Intelligence, Missile, Drone, National Defense University, and logistics command are created so that there are no job losses at the three-star (Lt General), two-star (Major General), or one-star (Brigadier) level after the theater commands are made.
After careful talks lead by CDS General Anil Chauhan, it seems that all three services are on board with the plan for theater commands.
General Chauhan is going to commands and other formations all over India to talk to senior officers about the need for theater command. At the same time, national security planners are putting the finishing touches on a plan that will change the way the Indian military works.
Before, it was thought that military theater commanders would have a three-star rank, which is the same as Lieutenant Generals, Vice Admirals, and Air Marshals. The new plan is that they should have the same rank as the three chiefs, or they won’t be able to do their jobs in a military that is based on rank and where seniority is the most important thing. “How will the heads of the army, navy, and air force listen to the theater leaders when they are lower in rank? Since theater commanders are in charge of operations, they have to have the same rank as the tri-service chiefs,” said a top official who knew about the plan but didn’t want to be named.
The plan for India’s theater commands is similar to those in the United States and China, where theater leaders have a four-star rank. In India, the theater commanders will answer to the CDS, who is also the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
The most important part of the plan is making the new military verticals. This will make sure that there are no duplicates at the three-star, two-star, one-star, or even battalion commander level. The new verticals will be used to make rank appointments that make sense when theater commands are made. For example, there are plans to bring back the National Defense University, which will be responsible for preparing doctrines, concepts, and theories needed by the new theater forces. The Intelligence command will make sure that the theater commands and the service offices in Delhi have access to information about their needs in real time.
HT hears that the plan is almost done, but there could be more changes before the military-civilian bureaucracy and the political leadership give the final go ahead. But with officers now being sent to the army, navy, or air force based on the jointsmanship plan and the creation of a single act to ensure order and deployment of the forces without silos, the big structure of military theaters may start to become clear by the end of 2023.