The chiefs of the army, navy and the air force are yet to arrive at a consensus on the proposed theatre commands of the armed forces as the Indian Air Force is said to have apprehensions about the plan, sources in the defence ministry said on Thursday.
A defence ministry official said the Narendra Modi government had last week asked the tri-services chiefs to hold threadbare discussions to iron out the differences and arrive at a consensus.“Last week, the Centre asked the three services chiefs to hold discussions with chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat on the planned integrated theatre commands of the three armed forces and iron out the differences. The tri-services chiefs are not on the same page on the issue,” a defence ministry official said.
Earlier this month, Gen. Rawat’s statement that the IAF was a “supporting arm” in the planned integrated theatre commands had triggered a controversy and acrimony at the higher echelons of the military leadership. Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria had disagreed with Gen. Rawat and said “airpower has a huge role”.
Sources said as soon as the three chiefs agreed to the Centre’s proposal, a draft note would be sent to the cabinet committee on security for approving the creation of the theatre commands.