Ranjit B Rai 

There was good news in the media IDF hails.  There is a saying, “One Must Cut One’s Coat According To One’s Cloth”. This is what  the first meeting of DPC appears to have attempted under NSA AK Doval as  the head of the wide ranging Multi Tasked DPC to write National Strategy with wide powers and he has the ear of the PM with joint experience of five years.  BJP has steered partnership with USA and US and China have tensions but agreements too. IDF congratulates India’s leadership..

 NSA  has asked the three Service Chief’s to jointly make a list of priorities in order of needs. This is something no Government, or Defence Minister or Chairman COSC or Defence Secretary has ever been able to do jointly or even  dared to  do, and the reasons are obvious with scandals with black listing which harmed, and sudden orders like 36 Rafales to plug gaps in  National security in a Quid Pro Quo.

India is secure and  commentators have told the world Indian Military is  professional and capable. But an expert on China Kondapalli in India Today agrees, he warns China is improving.  And China is our threat and competitor most agree and needs to be contained which was listed in CNA-NMF meeting by  the leading US and Indian Maritime think tanks which suggest policy. More in Part Two.

Integrated Defence Staff (IDS)  attempted this  task in the past,  but  got bruised even when it made a list of inter service LUH and Navy Helicopters  that were needed for the three services and this confused MOD to leave turf battles alone. IAF got orders for Chinooks for light guns and Attack Apaches on FMS, which Army wanted.

The list of urgent, medium term and long term needs even if these are  classified at first by DPC, could replace short, medium and long term LTTP lists as given in the DPP though  these were never followed.

 Off  the top of IDF’S  hat,  IDF  lists  small arms for the 21st Century soldier, 155mm guns under procurement, attack and light utility helicopters and BMPs and battle tanks for the Army needs and, for the Air Force 126 MMRCA fighters, AWACs and AEW and  replacement  Transport planes, Drones and Space facilities. The Navy says it needs  aircraft carriers, conventional and nuclear SSN submarines, warships like Destroyers and Frigates, OPVs,  MCMVs, (Recently canceled), Cyber,  Training ships  and Refueling tankers. This list should be completed before the next elections, so that future dispensations are committed to it with the cloth available or made available.  IDF will give a BZ to DPC acts as surely each service has priorities that need holistic Inter Service prioritization and be costed. Inter service needs joint  Special Forces, Cyber and Space structures and removal on anomalies listed in Part Two.

The next major task should be  Inter Agency Co-ordination for security and economy that needs attention as India is a global  power now with an  ambitious leader and established Jugad  may not work.  IDF admits  it  will be a herculean task to do as a over democratic nation but  must be attempted  in management style. Even Tatas saw the four Defence companies had to be brought in one as L&T had done some time back. Economy of scale, efficiency  and effort follows.

 India is in the five largest defence-spenders eg  USA,  China , Saudi Arabia, India and Russia, and they accounted for 60 per cent of the global defence expenditure in 2017.  India tops as  the largest importer in the world.

IDF asked why  no one has delved into this subject of command and co-ordination for economy and efficiency and efficacy of our fine Armed Forces with 17 Commands, all  dealing with Agencies and even the Army has perforce allowed ITPB,  BSF,  POLICE & CRPF & SSB to be partners in securing our active  Pakistan and China borders and recently with Doklam with no set Command and Control rules in Inter Agency co-ordination but the need makes them co-ordinate. Hence Exercises followed with readiness for war.

 See Trishul Blogspot for Gagan Shakti IDF agrees.

IDF has wondered  why is that so ?

The answer IDF got was  the Home Ministry  is responsible for  Internal Security and  its Secretary is more powerful with Intelligence under it but a ‘Chalta Hai System’  has been  established for security and law and order. No doubt the  states have powers as the politicized   Police is under the State for law and order so legally when the Army is called in to a state  it is under the Police and so are the  other para forces for ‘Aid To Civil Power’ ??? So AFSPA came in to being as Police is protected under its own rules. Now AFPSA is being debated.

Navy made  Coast Guard it’s son in law with powers of arrest at sea but  under the same mother in law……. MOD. CG exercises with Navy and has common control centers at ports and in war comes under the Navy. In China President Xi Jinping,  to realize the Chinese Dream can do anything so he has brought all Para Forces under the Military and in USA they have Homeland Defence. Jinping  is trusted like PM Modi but Modi has to steer elections  too and one is near ! DPC must act.

 India needs Inter agency co-coordination for security because the three services the  Army, Air Force and Navy chiefs defend and command   their  turf for the nation individually and are directly under the Minister of Defence.  Secretary  MOD is junior. However   in a new dispensation that one saw since  PATHANKOT action,  the  NSA took over control of operations as it needed  direct contact with PM, HM and PMO. It was fait accompli,  to ensure  speed and cut out the Chiefs and GOC-in-Cs  just like  it happened in the Falkland war when First Lord of the Admiralty (CNS) was out of the game,  and CDS took over. Later UK changed its coordinated structure and a Purple Force of common logistics, operations and promotions came in to being. 

India has no CDS-Period and can have no Threatre Commands till following issues are sorted out discussed in Part Two so just saying lets have Theatre Commands is like Charlie Chaplin saying let’s go to Timbaktoo !.

  1. The Navy Regulations are based on the Queen’s and the rules of Command, Control, punishments, Boards of Inquiry and Courts Martial are different from  the Air Force and Army in many   So first action will have to be a Unified Armed Forces Law which lies in dust in some cupboard. Navy has wider powers to act at sea even births deaths and marriages to be gazetted.
  2. The Nuclear Doctrine seems to be clear for Air Force and Army as they are now in ready position with separate holdings of the bomb core under civilian control and separate operationalising  of the weapon and CBRN defence but Navy’s nuclear submarines cannot carry non mated weapons unless that has been achieved  and submarines so designed.

 The U tube link of a hour long  lecture by EX SFS Admiral Vijay Shankar linked on India’s nuclear doctrine at Livermore is cerebral. Navy will need a Nuclear Doctrine for its nuclear boats. :

  1. The seniority aspects of the three services are not the same. In Navy every Captain with now 6, earlier 4 years service  becomes a one star Commodore with no board. The Army and Air Force have boards for Air Cmdes and Brigadiers. But in Navy a Commodore can be made a Captain but his pay remains protected as that of a Brigadier. CNS has powers to promote any officer with no financial effect which led to  Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat’s removal among other frivolous issues that RM George Fernandes could not tolerate and found his match. Corruption was one.
  2. In Navy officers can get up to 12 months seniority to be promoted to a Lt and so the smart ones supersede their Army and Air Force counterparts which rankles as they progress. Gen JJ Singh was senior to Adm Arun Prakash in NDA who became Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and even discussed Kashmir issue with visiting CDS’s to Army’s ire. Seniority in civil services is decided by grade of pay……’Viva Le Difference’  and they have NFU to be placated, which military wants as Jugad.

IDF  and wishes DPC all success. Part Two will deal with Challenges for Inter Agency  Coordination.   


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