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24 septembre 2012 1 24 /09 /septembre /2012 20:32



Sep 24, 2012 Rajat Pandit - The Times of India


NEW DELHI: Indian armed forces are now finally mulling the creation of three new unified commands to effectively tackle the rapidly expanding security threats and challenges in the fields of space, cyberspace and special operations.

The brass of Army, Navy and IAF are "informally'' discussing the "contours'' of the cyber, aerospace and special operations commands, which will synergize efforts and assets of the three services in these "critical areas'', sources said.

Once the "formal joint proposal'' of the three Services is finalized, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne will take it up with the government in his capacity as the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee. In fact, the "urgent need'' for the three new commands is likely to come up during the Combined Commanders' Conference to be addressed by the Prime Minister on October 19.

The prevalent view is that a three-star Army officer (Lt General) should head the Special Operations Command, while an equivalent rank from IAF (Air Marshal) can steer the Aerospace Command. The Cyber Command, in turn, will be headed by a Vice-Admiral from the Navy.

This means the commanders-in-chief of the three new commands will "not be rotated'' among the Army, Navy and IAF. India's two existing tri-Service commands - the Strategic Forces Command and the Andaman & Nicobar Command - as well as the integrated defence staff follow a "rotational'' policy at present.

"It will ensure the new command in question can be 'mothered' by a single Service on a continuous basis. The Army, after all, has domain expertise in special operations, IAF in aerospace and Navy in cyber and information technology. The commands will draw elements, assets and manpower from all the three services as well as the government below the three-stars,'' said a source.

The Indian defence establishment certainly needs to be geared for battles in space and cyberspace after the first three military domains of land, air and sea. It also needs to bring together the disparate special forces in Army, Navy, IAF and other forces under a unified command and control structure to execute strategic operations in tune with national security objectives.

China, for instance, is taking huge strides on the space and cyberspace fronts.

Cyber warfare, too, is a frontline military priority for China, with its "hacker brigades'' regularly breaking into computer networks of countries like India, US, the UK and Germany.

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