Context:- The Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat’s recent comment on the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a supporting arm in an interview on July 2 and after this, the IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria’s rebuttal on the comment shows the whole India about the issues persists among the arms of defense in india.
India’s first Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) on January 01 2020, , General Bipin Rawat announced after taking over in a surprise move said about his plan to set up a joint, integrated Air Defence Command (ADC), issuing instructions to prepare its roadmap within six months i.e., by June 30,2020.
There is no other major military in the world which has a national Air Defence Command ADC in place currently.
Some Media reports said that counting even ageing aircraft IAF is 25% short on fighter squadrons.
Their service is on the shortage of about 400 pilots and top of it almost 10% of their authorised strength, further aggravates this.
The service chief is responsible for the operational availability of any assets it is true for now too.
Vulnerabilities should be known to all stakeholders for example When in 2015, the U.S. Navy faced a budget cut then Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations told the Senate about the repercussions of it.
There is also an issue of making operational plans for the IAF being put outside the service.
Finding common ground
With regard to the Indian Navy we have 67year old naval air arm , which figures among the top 10 air forces of the world.
Naval air arm has the experience of operating almost every kind of aircraft the IAF operates, and with the benefits of the operational wisdom borne of the harsh integrity of the supremely tough aircraft carrier and other small deck operations, the naval leadership understands air power.
Our apex achelion must inculcate the Confidence which developed that rightly staffed apex joint organisations can draw up professional operational plans for air power.
The budget of our defence forces is dwindling on one hand and on the other there is a steadily deteriorating security situation and the march of technology.
The Andaman and Nicobar Command which is a integrated command has suffered from the lack of a substantial operational charter, and the services not positioning appropriate personnel or resources there
The U.S. has also faced the same problem when it made joint tenures mandatory for promotions.
The way forward for this traumatic situation is that major reorganizations must strictly follow the sequence of written concepts, their refinement through consultation, simulation or tabletop wargaming, field evaluation and final analysis before implementation.
This reorganization would help to address the issues of command and control, asset adequacy, individual service roles, operational planning under new circumstances and the adequacy of joint structures.
There is a dire need of a comprehensive National Security Strategy to guide the services develop capacities required in their respective domains.
We must transform our forces on the pretext of professional education and inter service employment to nurture genuine respect for others.
Armed forces must resolve their differences among themselves, as the politicians or bureaucrats cannot do it and these differences must not escalate.
Government and the recruiting agencies must ensure good quality staff, in adequate numbers, at apex joint organizations, to reassure individual services and those in the field that they are in safe hands.
We must accept the fact that what works for other countries need not work for us.