Operational theatre commands still 2-3 years away

A commander-in-chief (c-in-c) level officer for each of the three services will be appointed as a theatre commander soon, who will further come up with a defined structure for each of those commands.

The four theatre commands—one for air and maritime each, and two for land borders—are still at least three years away from becoming operational. A commander-in-chief (c-in-c) level officer for each of the three services will be appointed as a theatre commander soon, who will further come up with a defined structure for each of those commands.

Senior government sources mentioned on Wednesday that the four theatre commands envisioned in the current model, including the Air Defence Command, the Maritime Theatre Command, Eastern Command looking at the China border and Western Command responsible for the border with Pakistan will soon get a c-in-c officer, who will be “dual-tasked”.

Commander-in-chiefs are responsible for their respective commands right now, and are senior three-star officers.

Once these officers are appointed, they will continue to lead their existing commands and simultaneously come up with detailed plans for the exact structure for the theatre command within a year. Sources said that it will take two to three years for the commands to become operational after that.

For now, the Northern Command of the Army, which handles both, the Line of Control with Pakistan and the Line of Actual Control with China in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir will be kept out of the new theatre commands.

Sources mentioned that at the moment there are 17 such officers, looking at the various commands across the three services. As all these officers will have to be accommodated in the four theatre commands, they will be placed as deputy commanders and staff officers within the new structure. According to the sources, each of the commands is likely to have c-in-c level officers from different services.

The Western Theatre Command will be based at Jaipur, and the work for that has already been started, the official said. The Maritime Theatre Command could be headquartered in either Karwar or in KOCHI. The base of the Air Defence Command is also undecided yet, and could be either in Allahabad, Gandhinagar or Jodhpur.

The sources said that the roles from the current commands will be handed over to the theatre commands progressively over time, starting with the operational aspects.

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