Why in News?
The Indian military must note that consultative strategising is a prerequisite before a concrete structure is put in place
Syllabus— GS 2 3 Security
- It is undeniable that the Indian military, like all government departments in India, continues to operate in walls, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi recognised the necessity and gave directives to achieve jointness, entrusting the task to India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
- Also there is need to create operational synergy while reducing costs by eliminating duplication and inefficient methods or processes.
- There are some news about Air force resisting the formation of theatre/functional commands.
Complexities of Air Force –
- The IAF’s criticisms have primarily been based on air power being viewed as a complement to the two surface forces, the Indian Army and Indian Navy, and being separated into penny packets, which would severely reduce the effectiveness of air operations in any future conflict or contingency.
- Such criticisms and dissenting perspectives are better expressed now, before the structure is formalised, than afterwards, when the deployment of air power is discovered to be sub-optimal under the military ethos of “an order is an order.”
Political Objectives –
- The failures of the world’s most powerful militaries in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and even our own Indian misadventure in Sri Lanka demonstrate the lack of defined political objectives and military plans.
- Even after more than seven decades of independence, India still lacks a well-defined national security plan.
- Only such a strategy may specify the types of situations that the military is expected to deal with, resulting in the development of appropriate military plans, doctrines, and capabilities.
- That would describe the structures needed to perform synergized operations, as well as the necessary communications and training.
- Simultaneously, such an intellectual endeavour would reveal duplication, inefficient resources, and procedures.
- Before freezing the building and attempting to glue the components together or hammer square pegs into round holes, the CDS should have pursued this goal.
- Such an exercise may possibly identify air power as the leading factor, especially since India’s political goal is unlikely to be the conquest of additional territories in the near future.
- In the seamless deployment of air power, the proposed air defence command clashes with the domain commands. Because of the lack of such an intellectual exercise, the IAF does not want its limited resources to be squandered fighting frontal defensive fights by a land force commander who has no experience with air power deployment.
- As illustrated in 1971, the Army fails to recognise that offensive air power is best kept hidden, focusing on keeping the opposing air force held down while allowing own surface troops to manoeuvre and function with impunity.
- The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) infrastructure is still being built up in Tibet, emphasising the need for an air-land strategy, with air power as the lead element to dissuade or defeat Chinese coercion plans.
Address the structural gaps –
- Finally, theatre or any lower structure requires an institutionalised higher defence organisation, which has been sadly lacking since the demise of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) in the 1950s, resulting in little regular dialogue between the political and military leadership, except in times of crisis, resulting in knee-jerk reactions.
- As a result, a scholar-warrior remarked, “It’s odd that the Cabinet has an Accommodation Committee but no Defense Committee.”
- Instead of pushing down such institutions without enough study and discussion with all stakeholders, we should first develop acceptable military plans against a nuclear backdrop in tandem with the political goals.
- Following that, with war-gaming, combined planning and training for all foreseen contingencies would automatically identify the requisite structures with appropriate command, control, and communications.
In the current proposal, it appears that the CDS, as the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), would also have operational control over the theatre/functional commands, a move that is unlikely to be popular with the politico-bureaucratic leadership and has prompted further discussion. Comment.