Syllabus subtopic: Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.
Prelims and Mains focus: about Chief of Defence Staff: mandate and significance; about other initiatives in the Indian defence sector
News: The office of Chief of Defence Staff is working on a tentative timeline that will see the establishment of an air defence command by end of the year, a peninsula command by 2021-end, and the first of the theatre commands by the end of 2022.
1. Air Defence Command
It is the first joint command to be created and will be headed by the Indian Air Force (IAF). A study on the air defence command, being headed by the Vice Chief of the IAF, has already been initiated and a report is expected by April 10.
2. Peninsula Command
- The peninsula command, headed by the Navy, will be created by merging the eastern and western commands by treating the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) as one entity.
- A study on the peninsula command will be ordered March 31, with the report expected in three to four months, and it “will take shape by the end of next year”.
3. Joint Commands
- Within these commands, which will be joint commands, “not all the assets of the Navy will go to the air defence command and not all assets of the Air Force will go to the peninsula command”.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Command, the first tri-services command already in place, will not be tampered with, and will continue to report to the Integrated Defence Staff. While the archipelago has “surveillance” threat, “for the peninsula, the defence of territory” is the main threat.
4. Theatre Command
- By the end of the year, studies for theatre commands will be initiated. The first theatre command will be rolled out by the end of 2022.
- There could be two commands, for the eastern and the western borders, or up to five commands, with a single command looking after the entire Jammu and Kashmir border, while the rest of the western border could be handled by another command.
5. Joint Training Command
Apart from these, the idea of a joint training command is also under consideration. There is a need for a doctrine command so that all services have the same doctrine and training of personnel will also happen as per the doctrine.
6. Synergy in Acquisition of equipment
- While the Department of Military Affairs, headed by the CDS as Secretary, has exclusive rights on revenue acquisitions, capital acquisitions is with the Defence Secretary but prioritisation is with the office of CDS.
- The procurement of 114 fighter jets for the IAF will happen in a staggered manner and submarines could also be bought in similar manner.
- The second aircraft carrier for the Navy will come in 2021 and the need for a third carrier can be assessed after looking at the indigenously-built second carrier’s performance.