CDS proposes Peninsular Command to protect South India

CDS proposes to merge Eastern & Western Naval Command as Peninsular Command to protect South India

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat. (PTI Photo)

The Eastern and Western Command of the Indian Navy would be merged in future to create a Peninsular Command to take care of sea-borne threats, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said here on Monday.

“Instead of looking at Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea differently, the Peninsular Command will look at the Indian Ocean as one entity. By March 31 we will issue a directive to undertake a study on what are the things to incorporate under such a command. The study should be completed in the next 3-4 months,” Gen Rawat said at a select media interaction.

The BJP-led NDA government in December appointed the former Army Chief as India's first Chief of Defence Staff, who took over on January 1.

One of the foremost tasks of the CDS is to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations and establishment of joint/ theatre commands.

India currently has 19 commands, out of which 17 are distributed between the Army, Navy and IAF. The remaining two are tri-service Andaman and Nicobar Command and Strategic Forces Command under the Integrated Defence Staff.

The Peninsular Command, Gen Rawat said, would come under the Navy Chief while the Andaman and Nicobar Command would continue with its separate identity. Some of the assets of the Army and IAF would be transferred to it.

This is the second joint command proposed by the CDS after the Air Defence Command that would be headed by the Indian Air Force. A study has been initiated and would be completed by March 31.

“The study team under the Vice Chief of the IAF was given a time period of 100 days and the report is to be submitted by April 10. The implementation order for the Air Defence Command may be issued by December 2020,” he said.

Two theatre commands are planned for the northern border east of Nepal and west of Nepal while one such command is planned for Jammu and Kashmir to look after the border with Pakistan. A fourth theatre command can take care of rest of the western command in Punjab and Rajasthan. Moreover, joint commands for training and logistics are also being planned.

“Theatarisation will start by 2020 and theatre commanded will be rolled out from 2022 onward. The entire country can be split into 2-5 theatre commands,” he said. As a first step, Army, Air Force and Navy decided to integrate their logistics services at Mumbai, Guwahati and Andaman.

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