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The theaterisation process in the military is making progress as consensus is emerging among the three services on the ambitious initiative, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in first clear remarks reflecting forward movement in the mega reform initiative.

In an exclusive interview to PTI on Saturday, he said the armed forces are committed to the theaterisation initiative because it will integrate the capabilities of the three services and ensure better utilisation of resources.

Under the theaterisation model, the government seeks to integrate the capabilities of the Army, Air Force and Navy and optimally utilise their resources for wars and operations.

“The theaterisation process has started. There has been progress on it. Consensus is emerging on it among the three services as it will ensure better utilisation of resources and enhance the military’s overall capabilities,” the defence minister said.

Singh declined to provide a timeline for rolling out of the theatre commands and said it took close to 20 years in certain countries where the theaterisation plan was implemented.

“We are working on it,” he said, refusing to share more details on the mega project.

As per the theaterisation plan, each of the theatre commands will have units of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and all of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander.

The original plan entailed setting up around six new theatre commands.

At present, the three forces have a total of 17 commands.

Under the theaterisation plan, the defence ministry initially planned to create an Air Defence Command and a Maritime Theatre Command.

This Maritime Theatre Command would be tasked to secure India from seaborne threats while the Air Defence Command would be mandated to deal with airborne enemies.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had some reservations about the theaterisation plan and it is understood that its concerns have already been addressed.

The theatre commands are being planned to ensure tri-services synergy and jointness so that the military can bolster its overall capabilities to face future security challenges.

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan is working on implementing the theaterisation model.

In June 2021, the Department of Military Affairs headed by then Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat had asked all three services to carry out independent studies on the theaterisation plan for its rollout.

However, the process slowed down after the death of Gen Rawat on December 8, 2021 in a helicopter crash.

In the last few months, Gen Chauhan held a series of deliberations with the top brass of the Army, Navy and the Air Force to take forward the theaterisation process.

It is learnt that the military planners are now focusing on having an integrated logistics management system as a precursor to setting up of the theatre commands.

There have been expectations that the defence ministry may roll out certain concrete initiatives in the next few months as part of the mega plan to have theatre commands.