Investing in a powerful, ocean-going navy that will likely sit out the next war seems like a poor investment.
The Ministry of Defence has moved to change the pattern for appointing military and civilian officers on important administrative posts at the armed forces headquarters.
A high-level committee has been set up to identify which posts at the administrative level required only employees with military experience.
This is in line with the recommendations of a committee of experts to enhance combat capability and re-balance defence expenditure of the forces. The other aspect studied by the panel was utilisation of civilian employees posted at the armed forces headquarters (AFHQ).
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has okayed setting up of the committee headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retd). Two other members on the panel are R Chandrashekhar, a former AFHQ cadre officer, and AN Das from the MoD finance wing.
The committee will conduct a study and identify such appointments in the three services that may be within the domain of the AFHQ civilian staff. It will also identify posts at the headquarters where civilian officers had been posted despite the positions requiring only those with strict military field experience.
The panel has been tasked to interact with various branches and directorates of the services’ headquarters of the MoD and the inter-service organisations for undertaking the study and submit a report of its recommendations by the first week of October.
The scope of the study will be to collate data on authorised and actual strength of the AFHQ officers in the respective services.
It will also collect data on brigadier-level officers of the armed forces posted in the administration, finance, policy formulation, coordination, personnel management, training, vigilance, legal wings and land and works.
This operationally & functionally reporting pattern never works in the long term. As with everything Indian, this seem to be a compromise. It goes against the very grain of what a TC ought to do.
The Maritime Theatre Commander would report to the Chiefs of Staff Committee; the Air Defence Commander would operationally report to the Chief of the Air Staff.An Air Defence Command (ADC) and a Maritime Theatre Commander (MTC) are in advanced stages of being finalised, according to two official sources. The MTC Commander would operationally report to the Chiefs of Staff Committee consisting of the three Service Chiefs and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as its permanent Chairman, one of the sources said.
In contrast, it has been proposed that the ADC Commander would operationally report to the Chief of the Air Staff, the other source said.
As per a study undertaken, the Navy Chief would focus on raise, train and sustain functions and will have a say in the operational aspects of the MTC through the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Study groupsStudy groups headed by Vice Chiefs of the three Services had been set up to work out the modalities of the various theatres and come up with suggestions. The creation of integrated triservice theatre commands is in the charter of the CDS.
The MTC would be a geographic command bringing together the Navy’s Eastern and Western commands, air elements and two amphibious infantry brigades and elements of the Coast Guard. The current triservice Andaman Nicobar command would also be brought under it.
The MTC Commander would be based in Karwar, with the Eastern and Western Naval commanders reporting to him. The MTC will cover India’s entire maritime interests.
The country’s first CDS, Gen. Bipin Rawat, recently said the joint study groups have brought out their papers, which were “being iterated, deliberated and further refined so that firm steps can be taken to operationalise them in the next 2-3 years.” The proposals would soon be sent to the government, one of the source stated.
Land based theatre commands are also in the works and Gen. Rawat has called for integrated training and logistics commands as well.