First Integrated Theatre Command may be announced in August
The announcement may be made on the 77th Independence Day. The initial step involves designating the South Western Command, located in Jaipur, as the inaugural theatre command. It will serve as the experimental Integrated Theatre Command, responsible for identifying and resolving deficiencies, tackling challenges, and implementing necessary adjustments.
The Indian armed forces' first Integrated Theatre Command (ITC) is likely to be announced in August this year as the process of reorganisation has reached advanced stages, Asianet Newsable has learnt. The move will augment inter-service synergy and jointmanship. Sources in the defence establishment said that the announcement could be made on the occasion of the 77th Independence Day. As per the plan, the Jaipur-based South Western Command will be the first theatre command and act as the test-bed Integrated Theatre Command to address the shortcomings, challenges and implement the commensurate amendments.
After South Western Command, the sources said that the next theatre command to be announced is the Lucknow-based Northern Theatre Command. The third will be Maritime Theatre Command to be headquartered at Karwar in Karnataka. It will have the responsibility to look after the coastal and maritime boundaries.
The sources further added that these commands are being worked out as per the concept of ‘One Border One Force’. An integrated theatre command envisages a unified command of the three Services, under a single commander, for geographical theatres (areas) that are of strategic and security concern.
The Western Integrated Theatre Command will be responsible for defence and security of the border areas with Pakistan. The Lucknow-headquartered Northern Integrated Theatre Command will look after the border areas with China. Currently, it houses the Army’s Central Command.
As per the plan, there will be no additional posts or ranks. They will be drawn from already existing command structures of the services. Currently, the Indian Armed Forces have 17 commands with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force having 7 commands each while the Indian Navy has three.
First Integrated Theatre Commander
According to the sources, discussions are underway to choose the first integrated theatre commander. In seniority principle, Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lt Gen RP Kalita will be the senior-most officer in line for appointment in August. The other option would be current South Western Army Commander Lt Gen BS Raju.
Retirement Age of Integrated Theatre Commander
The sources also said that the retirement age of the Integrated Theatre Commander will be 61 years. The Services chiefs serve for three years or till 62 years of age, whichever is earlier. The Lieutenant General and equivalent ranks officers get superannuated at 60 years as of now.