Reorientation of Indian armed forces to deploy military theater commands
By Milind Kulshreshtha,
The 2017 Joint Doctrines of the Indian Armed Forces Document sets out the national military objective of first preventing war through strategic and conventional deterrence across the spectrum, and defending the sovereignty and interests of India. India. All operations of the armed forces are aimed at defending territorial integrity and safeguarding political objectives, including assistance to Homeland Security and HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) in India and beyond. . Military theater commands must be designed to achieve such objectives, however, each of these objectives is very complex in an ever-changing geopolitical scenario.
Currently, the process of creating theater commands is underway under the aegis of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) by the Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS). The Military Theater Commands will bring a huge shift in the war paradigm of the Indian Armed Forces. These theater commands are not only a transformational philosophy, but involve effective implementation by over a million soldiers. These combat commands are intended to be deployed sequentially (initially with the maritime and air defense commands), but given the complexity of the task, there is a good chance that each theater command itself will be implemented. gradually. Theater commands are not just an administrative activity, but their success or failure will depend heavily on the underlying combat technologies, which are still being developed by the armed forces. The translation of the Indian Navy into a Maritime Theater Command will first require the integration of fundamental doctrines and concepts of operations of the IAF and the Army, in order to develop a coherent operational philosophy for the units of naval, land and air combat operating under a single structure.
As part of complex naval warfare tactics, the command of the maritime theater will be much more than a redeployment of fleet ships with IAF fighter jets with the support of the army’s amphibious units navigating the ships. of the flotilla. A maritime theater command would be a highly composite and complex architecture operating in a real-time scenario, a structure well designed to maximize the efficiency of maritime operations. Multiple variables will need to be refined first on the drawing board and, thereafter, practiced in areas of the ground, ensuring that Indian troops are always in an advantageous position to ultimately win the battle while incurring minimal casualties. All the negative impacts of such a major overhaul must be taken into account in great detail in order to reduce the risks associated with future advancements in adversaries’ capacities.
Here, for a simple comparison, even a well-run process of a large shipbuilding program can take at least half a decade from conceptualization to delivery of the first warship. It may not be easy to expect an evolutionary process like a Maritime Theater Command to be executed within a year. Maritime Theater Command is an unexplored area for the Indian Armed Forces and must be a gradual, methodical, and well-executed initiative, based primarily on indigenous technologies, before combat units are equipped with theater commands for deployment. Since the solutions developed by the theater commands of the United States or NATO cannot simply translate into the Indian context, the theater command formations will have to be uniquely designed by the Indian armed forces.
Basic technologies for maritime theater command
Technologies similar to the principles of multi-domain operations (MDO) are some of the optimal solutions for the theater control architecture. MDO concepts must provide the essential means of joint engagement in air, land, sea, electronic warfare, space and cyberspace during the next confrontation with the adversary. A theater command for modern warfare must also include high-tech solutions such as multi-sensor and multi-platform data fusion, reconfigurable software-defined radios, small arrays of low-earth orbit satellites, etc. It is already well known that modern battle lines are blurry and any breach can begin silently in a virtual world, even before a conventional attack is recognized. In fact, several attacks may already be underway to identify various critical infrastructure vulnerabilities that the adversary plans to exploit at an appropriate time in the future, depending on their choice of time and place. Such complex, ever-evolving challenges in the virtual world of encryption and the cyber-physical realm will be a major component of maritime theater command. However, such cybersecurity-related operations must fall under the overlapping roles of several government organizations, and the responsibilities in terms of coordinating these activities must be clearly defined. Theater commands must go beyond defining interoperability for the three services and involve other key government agencies.
Inclusion of support organizations
Military theater commands have evolved as a modern arm of war to achieve strong defense of India, as the form and form factor of today’s adversary in asymmetric warfare has already suffered a radical change. Adversaries can use tactics such as attacks from unknown drones, cyber attacks, or illegal fishing vessels at sea. The integration of maritime theater command with other agencies such as homeland security organizations for effective operations is a priority. need. For example, the Indian Navy successfully conducted “Ops Tasha” in the 1990s during operations in Sri Lanka by undertaking Joint Coastal Patrolling (JCP) with the Coast Guard and other Coastal State agencies deployed with naval detachments (NAVDET) and naval air detachments (NAVAIRDET).
While the Indian Navy is responsible for India’s overall maritime security including coastal areas and offshore assets, the Indian Coast Guard, Coast Police, various central and state departments also have their role to play. to help these missions. The Coast Guard protects territorial waters against maritime terrorism, illegal arms trafficking, etc. and is the coastal commander designated to coordinate activities between central and state agencies. A long coastline of approximately 7,516 km and an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of more than 2 million km² involve many activities and overlapping jurisdictions by multiple agencies, such as the Ministry of Ports and Navigation), the Ministry of Fisheries, etc. Defense and security is provided by the Coast Police, Navy and State Coast Guard in roles and responsibilities at several predefined levels. As a result, a few days ago a committee was set up by the Defense Ministry to discuss the involvement of various other external agencies in the theater’s military commands.
Theater controls are the need of the hour, but while everyone makes sure to deploy them at the earliest, no gap in the technological framework can be overlooked or the future will be enslaved to these architectural gaps. The rapid development of the cyber-physical world of defense may also challenge the traditional approach of the military since theater commands are intended for future war zones (including the virtual realm of artificial intelligence and spectrum electromagnetic using disruptive technologies). Indigenous industries in India can be of immense support here in identifying such futuristic technologies, with the possibility of developing some of these advanced technologies under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. Certainly, in this era of modern warfare, DMA and Service Headquarters face serious challenges before reorienting the world’s second largest active military workforce into a lean and medium combat force under the concept of theater commands.
(The author is a strategic analyst with a keen interest in technology related to C4I solutions and multi-platform and multi-sensor data fusion technologies (MPMSDF). Opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect position or position. official policy of Financial Express Online. Email: milind @ aikairos.com)