Defence Minister Rajnath Singh: Indian Armed Forces 'rapidly moving' to ensure joint warfare doctrine

"We are rapidly moving towards jointness of the three services," Singh said, and added that "our effort is to have common logistic nodes so that resources of one service can be seamlessly made available to other services"

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, September 12, 2022, 12:35 PM IST
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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | Twitter/@rajnathsingh

New Delhi: India is rapidly moving towards jointness of the three services of the armed forces and effort is to have common logistic nodes so that resources of one service can be seamlessly made available to the other, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.

Addressing a seminar on Army logistics here, the Union minister also said that India has made rapid progress in the rail sector, and over 9,000 km lines have been doubled in the last seven years. The corresponding figure was only 1,900 km in the five years preceding 2014, he said.

The opening ceremony of the seminar was attended by Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari and Navy chief Admirk R Hari Kumar and NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat, among others.

The defence minister, in his address, spoke of the synergy and fusion needed between the civil and military stakeholders, and asserted that presence of representatives from different sectors of the two sides showed the "commitment" to achieve the goal as India stood on the threshold of an 'Amrit Kaal'.

"We are rapidly moving towards jointness of the three services," Singh said, and added that "our effort is to have common logistic nodes so that resources of one service can be seamlessly made available to other services".

And, logistics is among the fields that benefited the most from this jointness, he said at the event held at Manekshaw Centre in Delhi Cantonment.

Joint warfare - What is it?

Joint warfare is a military doctrine which places priority on the integration of the various service branches of a state's armed forces into one unified command.

Joint warfare is in essence a form of combined arms warfare on a larger, national scale, in which complementary forces from a state's army, navy, air, and special forces are meant to work together in joint operations, rather than planning and executing military operations separate from each other.

The United States Department of Defense, which endorses joint warfare as an overriding doctrine for its forces, describes it as "team warfare", which "requires the integrated and synchronized application of all appropriate capabilities. The synergy that results maximizes combat capability in unified action."

How has India's progress on Joint warfare been?

Following the Kargil War in 1999, the Kargil Review Committee was set up to review where India went wrong during the limited war with Pakistan and suggest changes to the security apparatus accordingly.

Subsequently, a Group of Ministers was formed and in turn four task forces. Among the numerous recommendations suggested were "integration of the services both with each other and with the Ministry of Defence, the creation of a chief of defence staff and joint operational commands".

One such essential element of jointness is evolution of a joint doctrine for the armed forces. The battlefields of the future are becoming increasingly complex. A joint doctrine will glue the joint forces together in the battlespace of the future.

Single service doctrines have unique proclivities in practice of warfare. At the beginning, the attempts to move towards a common perspective may appear to be difficult to achieve or the inter-service problems may seem intractable. However, such problems are not insurmountable.

India currently has two fully functioning unified commands — the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) set up in 2001 and the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) set up in 2003.

There are currently 17 single service commands — 7 of the Army, 7 of the Air Force and 3 of the Navy. Each of these commands is located at a separate base.

As of 2020, the Air Defence Command is the first command being undertaken. Integrated commands set up as specialized service providers have also been formed: Defence Cyber Agency, Defence Space Agency and the Armed Forces Special Operations Division that are agencies of Integrated Defense Staff.

The Defence Cyber Agency could go on to form the Information Warfare Command.

Other proposed commands include the Logistics Command and the Training and Doctrinal Command. The Integrated Defence Staff and the Defence Planning Committee are an integral part of the theaterisation process.

In February 2020, General Bipin Rawat said two to five theatre commands are being looked into.

(with inputs from PTI)

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