Indian militray is set to begin a formal roll-out of its long-awaited theaterisation plan to optimally utilize its military’s resources amid growing security threats, with the Air Defence Command and the Maritime Theatre Command set to be launched by May, people familiar with the developments said on Tuesday.
Theaterisation refers to placing specific units of the army, the navy, and the air force under a theatre commander. Such commands are led by an officer from any of the three services, depending on the roles assigned to them.
The commands are being set up amid border tensions with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and Pakistani hostility along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir, with a joint threat from the two nuclear-armed neighbors being acknowledged as a reality by the country’s military leadership, and at a time when India is demonstrating its strength in the Indo-Pacific region.
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“The final validation exercises to set up the two commands are in full swing. Aspects related to executing authority, command and control structures, and budgeting are being fine-tuned,” said a senior military official, on the condition of anonymity.
The Air Defence Command, which will come up in Prayagraj, UP, will be the first to be set up in April. It will control the air defense resources of all three services and will be tasked with protecting military assets from airborne threats. Its commander-in-chief will be a top three-star Indian Air Force (IAF) officer.
The Maritime Theatre Command will be headquartered in Karwar on the west coast, will come up the following month and be responsible for securing India from seaborne threats and will have army and air force elements under it. Its commander-in-chief will be a top three-star Indian Navy officer.
“The Air Defence Command will be rolled out first, in April. The Maritime Theatre Command will follow a month later. The commanders-in-chief of the commands will report to the chief of defense staff (CDS) in his role as permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee (COSC),” said a second official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity.