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As General Chauhan gets set to take over as CDS, the importance of military theaterisation

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The appointment of a new CDS is important to speed up the theaterisation drive which would boost the synergy among the Indian Armed Forces, and utilise the military's resources for future wars and operations.

New Delhi, Sep 30: With General Anil Chauhan all set to take over as India's new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) today, the key focus would be on the theaterisation drive.

As General Chauhan gets set to take over as CDS, the importance of military theaterisation

General Chauhan takes over as the CDS nine months after General Bipin Rawat's death in a chopper crash. On Wednesday, the government announced the name of General Chauhan as the new CDS of India. The new CDS retired as the Eastern Army Commander on May 31, 2021. He was also the military adviser to the National Security Council before he was appointed as the new CDS.

General Chauhan will now spearhead the theaterisation drive to utilise the military's resources for future wars and operations.

10 things to know about Lt General Anil Chauhan, India's new CDS10 things to know about Lt General Anil Chauhan, India's new CDS

The appointment of a new CDS is important to speed up the theaterisation drive which would boost the synergy among the Indian Armed Forces. Prior to his death last year, General Rawat had asked the three services to submit a comprehensive report on the theaterisation and joint structure. While the timeline had not been set, it got further delayed due to the untimely death of General Rawat in a chopper crash near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.

The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force have 17 commands together. The idea behind theaterisation was to set up four new integrated commands. They were the two land centric theatres, an air defence command and a maritime theatre command.

This exercise would ensure better planning, military response and would also bring down the cost in the near future. The cost initially may go up since all the theatres would have to be armed with ample systems. However, in the future the costs would go down as all the acquisition will be a unified one.

Officials OneIndia spoke with said that General Rawat's vision was to use the military resources to the best of its ability with an eye on wars of the future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during the Independence Day address in 2019, "Our forces are India's pride. To further sharpen coordination between the force, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort. India will have a Chief of Defence Staff-CDS. This is going o make the forces even more effective."

New CDS was director general of military operations during Balakot strikesNew CDS was director general of military operations during Balakot strikes

Since the 1962 war with China, there have been 13 five-year defence plans and the major problem was that these plans would fall short due to lack of prioritisation.

With the CDS comes a clear policy on defence diplomacy. The job of the CDS was to ensure that this is implemented. The jointmanship and visits of the higher military authorities are some of the issues that come under diplomacy and the CDS becomes a central figure to ensure that this process goes on smoothly.

Considering the challenges, these issues are extremely crucial in the event of a two-front war on the northwest and northeast borders. This would require a pinpointed military application.

The task ahead for the new CDS would be to speed up the military reforms and also chalk out the way forward in the wake of several developments including the Ukraine war.

The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) is headed by the CDS and handles matters including theaterisation and other reforms. The CDS is the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) headed by the DMA. He is also the single point military advisor to the defence minister.

In addition to this, border disputes, overseeing issues relating to India's neighbours, monitoring developments in the Indian Ocean Region, West Asia, Afghanistan and South East Asia also come under the purview of the DMA headed by the CDS.

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