There is an urgent need to make a National Security Strategy (NSS) before theater commands are made, former army chief Gen M M Naravane has said.
He was speaking at the Gen K V Krishna Rao memorial lecture.
"Unless there is an NSS in place, just to keep talking of 'theaterisation' is to actually put the cart before the horse", Gen Naravane said. "Theaterisation is not an end. It is only a means to an end. And that end must be specified first in the form of a national defense strategy, which will flow out of the NSS," the former chief of the Indian Army said at the gathering.
This is significant in light of the mandate given by the government to the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan to create theater commands to increase jointness between the forces.
It is from the NSS that the National Defense Strategy will flow out, Gen Naravane said. He also suggested the creation of a Higher Defense Organization (HDO), with representation from all ministries "for a whole of nations" approach, to act as an interface between the government and military commanders on the ground.
Once these [NSS and HDO] are in place, the process of theaterisation can start, he said.
"The NSS would make it clear whether the role of the armed forces is to just defend the country's land borders and territorial waters, or does it extend to covering the country's primary area of strategic interest stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait," Naravane explained, according to the Times of India.
"We (the armed forces) cannot on our own say we will fight a two-front war. Has anybody said it or is it just our own creation? We cannot abrogate to ourselves these responsibilities. When that is laid down, it will make our job of theaterisation a lot easier," Naravane has been quoted as saying.
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