We have been hearing about reforms in the Indian Military for quite some time now, especially after the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post. The CDS position inherited many challenges. Many things were to be upgraded, reformed, adapted, or reorganized. Among the reforms that were planned the predominant was the integration of all the three Services of Army, Navy, and Air Force into Unified Commands or Theatre Commands.

Theatre command is a geographical area of concern combining all the three services into a unit posture under a single Commander as opposed to the present service-oriented structured commands. The commander will be responsible for all the operations and he is independent to use the assets under his command to achieve the goals. If not the least outcomes of Unified Commands or Theatre Commands would be 1) Better cooperation and increased inter-service tactical knowledge. 2) Best use of available assets among the services under the responsible Theatre. 3) During Wartime, the Coordination will be at the Theatre level instead of at the level of Service Chiefs. Overall, by far the Theatre commands would be equipped with the best of all to deal with situations accordingly.

The reforms that we are discussing here are ideal/theoretical assumptions.  There should be 6 x Theatre commands (Western maritime command, Eastern Maritime Command, North-Western Command, Northern Command, North-Eastern Command, and Central Command).

Refer to the rough Map (not to scale) for the distribution of unified commands. Based on the geographical conditions we will designate a commander from the three services best suitable for the theatre. But this is a preference and not a condition, any personnel if capable of any service can lead a theatre (this is what is an essential part of unified commands). Also, for a particular theatre if a commander is from the Navy then the deputy or vice commander should be from either or of the other two services.

Western maritime command

This command stretches from cape comorin to Sir Creek, forming a formidable maritime command equipped and responsible for any challenge on western the front. Lakshadweep islands operations are also under this command. The Commander for this theatre should be preferred from the Navy.

Eastern maritime Command

This command stretches again from cape comorin to Sunderbans. Also including Andaman and Nicobar Islands forming a big maritime command having a watch over the entire Bay of Bengal. The Commander for this theatre should be preferred from the Navy.

North-Western Command

It covers the western and northern part of the country and this command stretches from Thar desert to Southeastern Ladakh. This would be one of the highly active commands because of the frequent engagements along the International border, LOC, and LAC. The Commander for this theatre should be preferred from Air Force.

Northern Command

It covers most of the northern territory of the country to the east of Sikkim. This command stretches from the Garhwal region to Sikkim. This Command would also be high on activity because of the increased Chinese transgression along with the parts of LAC and McMohan Line. The Commander for this theatre should be preferred from Army.

North-Eastern Command

As the name indicates this command covers the Seven sister states of North East India. The Commander for this theatre should be preferred from Army.

Central Command

This command should be more of a reserve command comprising mostly central provinces of the country. It should be able to complement any of the other commands in case of necessity. Because this command would not be as active as other commands, the responsibility of Training should be under this command. Whether Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), National Defence Academy (NDA), and many other esteemed training institutes and organizations administration must be handled by Central Command. The Commander for this theatre should be preferred from Air Force.

In addition to these commands there should be 2 common Commands i.e., Strategic Forces Command and Intelligence & Cyber Command.

Strategic Forces Command

All projectile related operations and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) must be placed under this command. It would be mainly consisting of Missile Strike Corps (ICBM, IRBM, Tactical, etc.) and Air Defence Corps (Akash systems, PAD, AAD, Barak 8, future NASAMS-II, S400, etc.). It should combine all the assets available within the three services making it more refined and leaner. The command should be preferably headed by a commander from Air Force, but he must coordinate with other theatre commanders, and based on the requirement at least a unit of Strategic Forces Command should be attached with other theatre commands.

Intelligence & Cyber Command

Intelligence is a foundational security requirement for any nation, for example, we know how the USA, Israel, and the former Soviet Union have emphasized Intelligence.  So, it should include Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Elements of IB, and R&AW. As progress is being made in technology, almost everything is going digital. Digitization is prone to cyber-attacks. Hacks, Data theft, access denial, remote control, misinformation, etc. are some forms of cyber-attacks.  To protect our technological know-how and Industrial complex such as DRDO, HAL, BEL, BHEL, ISRO, BEML, etc., from cyber-attacks, this command must watch over these areas. Also, when required it should instigate cyber-attacks on adversaries as well. This will help in proper planning and plotting to defend or stage counterattacks. The CDS must head this Command.

Now let us put the spotlight to a bigger extent and include the reorganization of security of border and coast as well. We know many Paramilitary forces are guarding the borders of the nation at different locations and are Under Home Ministry and coast guard under Defence Ministry. But Let us integrate all the paramilitary and coast guard into a single organization of Border and Coast guards.

Border and Coast Guards

It should not be confused with other paramilitary forces such as CRPF, CISF, etc. whose role is with internal security. This new organization merged should only include those with border security duty (BSF, ITBP, SSB, etc.) and of course coast guard. This Organization must work under both Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). If illegal activities such as smuggling, human trafficking, etc. are observed then these types of crimes are civilian and should be reported to MHA. Terror activities or other activities that threaten the security of the nation must be reported swiftly to the concerned Theatre commander and MoD also.

Like those Major powers such as the USA, Russia, China which are having Unified Commands, Hope these reforms reflect the true aspirations to be a great power within the region and in the world to some extent.

Disclaimer : Articles published under ” MY TAKE ” are articles written by Guest Writers and Opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IDRW.ORG is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of IDRW.ORG and IDRW.ORG does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. article is for information purposes only and not intended to constitute professional advice .

Article by DINESH BEHARA ,  cannot be republished Partially or Full without consent from Writer or
Note: If you have personal opinion and want to contribute for” MY TAKE ”on Defence matters kindly email us at