Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that joint theatre commands of tri-services would be set up to enhance coordination among armed forces.


What is ‘theaterisation of armed forces’?

  • Theaterisation is a concept which seeks to integrate the capabilities of the three services – army, air force and navy – in order to optimally utilise their resources for wars and operations.
      • In other words, a theatre command/unit will be created by integrating elements/assets from all the three services.
      • All of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander.
  • It will create a military structure in which specific theatre commands/units will be placed under the Theatre Commander.
  • The Theatre Commander will be a three-star general, drawn from any of the three services, depending on the function assigned.


Theaterisation model under consideration

  • The plan under consideration talks about setting up of six theatre commands. These are —
      • Air Defence Theatre Command —
        • It will control air defence resources of all three services. It will be tasked with protecting military assets from airborne enemies.
        • It will be headed by a top three-star Indian Air Force officer based in Prayagraj.
      • Maritime Theatre Command —
        • This will be responsible for securing India from seaborne threats.
        • Headed by a top three-star Indian Navy officer and will be based in Karwar, Karnataka.
      • Northern Command (Comprising Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh)
      • Western Command
      • Eastern Command
      • Logistics command — to avoid duplication of efforts and resources.
  • The first phase involves the creation of Air Defence Command and Maritime Theatre Command.


How will the role of service chiefs change after theaterisation?

  • The operational control of theatre commands will eventually come under the CDS.
  • This would leave the Service chiefs with no direct control over their assets operationally.
  • The service chiefs will be responsible for raising, training and sustaining their forces.
  • Also, as each chief will be a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), and an expert of his/her domain, his or her inputs will be necessary for all operational decisions.


Present Model in India

  • At present, India has 17 single service commands and only two tri-service commands.
  • The 17 single service commands are divided as:
    • Army – 7 commands; Airforce – 7 commands; Navy – 3 commands
  • The two tri-service commands are — Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), and The Strategic Force Command (handles the nuclear weapons).
  • Creating Theatres would involve merging existing commands. After restructuring, the ANC command will come under the proposed Maritime Theatre Command and SFC will be under National Security Council.



  • Apprehensions of Air force —
    • Air force has reservations regarding the asset division. The organisation fears that it will lose control over its assets and operations.
    • IAF has also raised apprehension regarding the nomenclature of commands, the leadership of theatre commands and dilution of powers of chiefs.
  • Apprehensions raised by Ministry of Home Affairs —
    • The MHA is worried about the operational command of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
      • It fears that the control of CAPF would go the Ministry of Defence.