IAF chief expresses ‘reservations’ on theatre commands

New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Tuesday made it clear that the Indian Air Force is not opposed to the tri-services theaterisation plan but asserted that the doctrinal aspects of the force should not be compromised by the proposed structures.
At a press conference ahead of the Air Force Day on October 8, he said the IAF has recently updated and revised its doctrine to keep it relevant, noting that no single service can win wars on its own.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the IAF has reservations about certain aspects of the proposed structures under the tri-services integration process, but it supports the overall plan that aims to ensure tri-services synergy.
With Gen Anil Chauhan taking charge as the new Chief of Defence Staff last week, it is expected that the ambitious theaterisation process of the three services will see forward movement.
“We are not opposing any process of integration and any process of theatre commands. We have certain reservations in respect to the structures,” he said while responding to a question on the plan.
According to the plan, each of the theatre commands will have units of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and all of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander.
At present, the Army, Navy and the Air Force have separate commands. A plan was firmed up for initially creating an Air Defence Command and Maritime Theatre Command.
There has been a general perception that the IAF is not very keen on the theaterisation plan.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the new structures should be created taking into consideration future challenges including in the domains of cyber and space, and that there must be clarity on the decision making process.
He said that there must be reduction in layers of decision-making under the new structures.
“We are fully supporting the integration process; it is only the methodology and the kind of structures that need to be future ready is what we are insisting on,” the Air Chief Marshal said.
“Each service has a doctrine. The doctrinal aspects of the Indian Air Force should not be compromised in any way by the new structures,” he said.
The Chief of Air Staff said his force is being transformed into a global aerospace force.
“Air power has the unique capability of undertaking independent strategic operations as well as operations coordinated with sister services and other arms of the national security apparatus,” he said. PTI

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