The theaterisation saga of the Indian armed forces, and the recent sudden penning of articles after the government ordered a review of the proposals, calls for paraphrasing Shakespeare—‘All India’s a theatre, and all the services are merely players….’
The ground reality is that the government has taken a decision for deep structural changes in how India’s defence architecture is configured, starting with the setting up of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and creation of the post of CDS. This is the ‘strategic’ part of the framework while the operational level is sought to be re structured through ‘theaterisation.’
The political executive is the decision maker while the services are the players in this ‘theatre’. There is, however, a vital intermediate actor called the scriptwriter, and on him rests the success or failure of the play.
In the ongoing reforms of the Higher Defence Organisation (HDO), we are at the stage of script writing; and, on the structural integrity of the script would depend the success of the play—in this case, the ‘theaterisation’ of India’s war fighting tools and human resource to enable it to win future wars.
To say that the script needs to be thought through, put through an academic crusher, debated, criticised (if required) and war gamed would be stating the obvious.