Publication | Page 605 | Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (2024)

Table of Contents
The Imperative of Finalising the Nuclear Deal by 2008 August 03, 2007 Cherian Samuel

Even though the Indo-US nuclear deal has passed one more hurdle with the completion of the 123 Agreement to the satisfaction of both governments, the remaining hurdles include the signing of agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before the Agreement can go back to the US Congress for its final imprimatur. As has been implicitly acknowledged by the two parties to the Agreement, both in their haste and their willingness to find innovative solutions to work around the complex technicalities, this Nuclear Deal, conceived during the Second Presidency of George W. Bush, can be signed, sealed and delivered in its present form only in the current Presidency. A varied set of factors, ranging from President Bush's unorthodox style of functioning, his disinclination towards a graduated approach, his disregard for the nitty-gritty and the Administration's calculation that opposition from the Non-Proliferation Lobby would be balanced out by support from the business lobby and sections of the intelligentsia and the strategic community, were in varying degrees responsible for getting the Deal off the ground on the American side. The requirement of a team that was in line with the President's vision of Indo-US Relations is underscored by the fact that the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) had sputtered along without any clear end goals during the period of Rice's predecessor at the State Department.

Having come this far over a two year period, it is imperative that the Deal is concluded in the remaining seventeen odd months of this Presidency. Current polls show that Democrats are tipped to take over the Presidency in 2009, barring unforeseen events. A new Administration would take time to settle down and would have its attention focused on resolving the mess in Iraq in particular and West Asia in general. A Democrat Administration would also have a substantially different perspective on not just the Nuclear Deal but the on strategic scenario as well.

Though the nuclear deal has not figured as an issue in the campaign for the Democratic nomination, other issues related to South Asia have cropped up from time to time, particularly between the two current frontrunners for the Democratic Party nomination, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. This could conceivably colour the approach of whoever ultimately wins the presidency. The Obama camp has accused the Hillary camp of being too close to her Indian American supporters, while at the same time paying lip service to the contentious issue of outsourcing, a theme later taken up by the Los Angeles Times. While Obama had to apologise for a background sheet issued by his supporters dubbing Clinton as the Senator from Punjab, the Clinton camp has been using Obama's recent utterances on carrying out targeted strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan as an example of his inexperience in foreign policy.

With outsourcing of jobs to India still a contentious issue, particularly among the middle- class who form the mainstay of the Democratic Party (as evidenced by numerous blog posts on the subject), Clinton would be much more susceptible to accusations of being soft on India and would necessarily have to take a tougher stand on issues such as the nuclear deal. At the same time, she is likely to seek something more substantial by way of quid pro quo than a general belief that India and the United States were natural allies. Similarly, while Obama is an unknown quantity, being a freshman Senator, his utterances on the nuclear deal wherein he expressed concern that the mechanism set in place through the Deal was flawed and that there had not been "as systematic an approach as I would like to see" could give some pointers to the approach to the Deal in an Obama White House. Given that there are any number of contentious issues ranging from trade negotiations to climate change protocols on which the Democrats can be expected to take a tougher stand than the incumbent Administration, it is doubtful that any Democrat Administration would go beyond the relationship style that was the hallmark of the Bill Clinton Administration - high on style and symbolism, but low on substance. Thus, beginning the relationship with a new Administration on a clean slate should be the preferred choice for India.

Nuclear and Arms Control India, Nuclear, Nuclear deal Indian Defence Acquisition: Time for Change August 03, 2007 Laxman Kumar Behera

The latest Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Performance Report on Defence Services (No. 4 of 2007) has once again exposed the problems involved in Indian defence acquisition. The report has been critical virtually of all the processes of the acquisition cycle, from planning to the formulation of Qualitative Requirements (QRs), vendor selection, conduct of trial and evaluations and processes of induction. It is in this perspective that a close examination is needed to get into the genesis of the problems and come out with an alternative solution that promotes efficient acquisition, which is moreover in tune with the best international practices.

Defence capital acquisition is a long, complex and arduous process, and needs expertise in "technology, military, finance, quality assurance, market research, contract management, project management, administration and policy making." In India, this process starts with the Defence Planning Guidelines issued by the Defence Minister, which then leads to the formulation of long-term, medium-term and short-term perspective plans, delineating capital requirements in different time horizons. However, as the Audit Report shows, these perspective plans fall short both on the count of timely completion and guaranteed budgetary commitment, resulting in poor fulfilment of planned capital requirements. In the case of the Army, for instance, since 1992 the planned induction of capital requirements in respect of various Arms and Services varies from 5 to 60 per cent. The poor fulfilment of requirements is ascribed by the C&AG to the unrealistic formulation of Perspective Plans, especially the five-year Services Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP), which does not take into account the availability of funds and the lead time required for acquisition. From this it is quite evident that in the present set up the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS), which is responsible for the preparation of perspective plan in consultation with the Services, lacks the required expertise and authority to fulfil its obligations of preparing realistic Perspective Plans.

The formulation of Qualitative Requirements (QRs) of weapons/platforms/systems is one of the most critical aspects of defence acquisition and has a strong bearing on defence capability and costs. Despite several reviews of procurement procedures, from DPP 2002 to the latest DPP 2006, QRs are still found to be narrow, unrealistic, inconsistent with the available technology, and worse, are anti-indigenisation, anti-inter se prioritisation and vendor-specific. This has led not only to sub-optimal use of resources but also to time overruns. The C&AG Report has strongly recommended that QRs should be "defined in terms of required functions and performance level," instead of detailed physical and technical characteristics. However, it is not the first time that an oversight agency like the C&AG has requested that QRs be broad-based and generic and thus designed to elicit more competition. Previously, DPP 2002, DPP 2006 and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence have all made recommendations on similar lines, but no substantial progress appears to have been made. It has to be noted that QR formulation is intricately linked to various other acquisition functions like solicitation of offers, trials and evaluations, etc. In other words, an inefficient QR makes vendor response restrictive and trial and evaluation process time-consuming, subjective and unfair. The 18 Army Contracts that were examined by the supreme Auditor show that out of 84 Requests for Proposal issued, only 24 vendors (less than 30 per cent) were pre-qualified after trials and, in none of the cases the number of successful vendors exceeded by two. Similarly, the time taken for trial and evaluation is found to be "unduly long" and lacked "objective and fair assessment". Keeping the above factors in mind, the current practice elicits the important question whether QR formulation should be left exclusively in the ambit of the Armed Forces/HQ IDS or whether should any other organisation, say a highly-professional acquisition organisation, have some role in defining the QRs?

At present, the Services Headquarters and HQ IDS are responsible for the formulation of QRs for the individual and common uses items, respectively. However, given the history of inappropriate QRs, leading to the vicious cycle of poor acquisition, an alternative approach needs to be worked out which would facilitate "faster, better and cheaper" acquisition and is at par with the best international practices. Given the structure of acquisition organisation in India, the present Acquisition Wing of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is theoretically best placed for the job. However, in the present set up, the Acquisition Wing is not a body responsible for the whole range of acquisition tasks. At present, it is merely performing the procurement functions (a part of acquisition process), leaving the rest to other functional heads, like IDS for planning, DRDO for research and development, Armed Forces for QRs, industries for production, Director General for Quality Assurance (DGQA) for quality assurance and test and evaluations. Moreover, in its present form, the Acquisition Wing is not quite a professional organisation. With a meagre staff, drawn from the MoD and the Services for short tenures, the complex task of capital acquisition is performed without adequate expertise. The personnel involved in acquisition lack "adequate training or exposure to project management, procurement or contract management." This handling of complex defence acquisition worth thousands of crores of rupees without proper expertise and by a set of scattered bodies cuts a sorry figure when compared to the best international practices adopted by some of the major weapon- producing countries.

In the developed countries, Defence acquisition is increasingly performed by large and highly professional and integrated bodies like France's Delegation General for Armament (DGA), Britain's Defence Equipment & Support organisation (DE&S), etc. These professional bodies are responsible for all crucial aspects of the acquisition cycle, from planning, design, delivery, and upgrade to the final disposal of assets. The role of the Armed Forces in these countries are restricted to only providing the broad operational requirements, leaving it to the special bodies to attain these within the given time, cost and technology parameters. Acquisition is performed by qualified professionals, drawn in sufficient numbers from a range of specialisations like Law, Finance, Management, Technology, and they are retained sufficiently for long periods to see through major projects. Besides, they are given continuous education and training to become world-class leaders in their respective fields.

In India, by contrast, defence acquisition is performed by different organisations accountable to different functional heads. As a result, each acquisition process has to go "through numerous approvals and submission points". This not only creates cross-validation with respect to overall planning and requirements but also generates different views and approaches among the organisations at each stage of acquisition, making it difficult to perform the critical acquisition functions in an efficient manner. Similarly, the Acquisition Wing provides little value addition as it merely performs the procurement functions and is remotely placed from the planning process, defence R&D, Defence Production, Quality Assurance and Test & Evaluation, leading to lack of a single point of accountability which is critical for efficient acquisition.

To overcome the present deficiencies surrounding the Indian acquisition system, it is time to create a separate integrated and professional acquisition organisation by incorporating all the acquisition functions under one head. The benefit of creating such a separate integrated acquisition organisation, which is in sync with the best international practices, lies in the fact that it will not only provide timely and cost-effective acquisition but will also ensure a single point of accountability. As the Acquisition Wing of the MoD was established with the aim of integrating all the acquisition functions, it can be empowered to lead this integrated organisation with a wider mandate. However, to bring all the acquisition functions under the Acquisition Wing is a huge challenge, as it involves a complete restructuring of the existing organisational structures and a change in existing equations. But given the history of poor acquisitions, as pointed out by the C&AG, a radical change needs to be brought in to make Indian defence acquisition 'faster, better, cheaper', and more integrated, and at par with best international practices.

Defence Economics & Industry India, Defence Acquisition The Emerging Islamic Militancy in North-East India August 03, 2007 M. Amarjeet Singh

The emergence of several Islamic militant groups in North-East India and their ability to forge close ties with the region's most violent militant groups like the United Liberation Front of Asom [ULFA] and other foreign-based Islamic groups pose a major security threat for the region. Islamic militancy started in North-East India in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition and the subsequent communal disturbances as well as because of Manipur's infamous Meitei-Muslim riot in 1993. A majority of these groups were founded between 1990 and 1996 with the prime objective of safeguarding the overall interests of the minority Muslim communities in the country's North-East. At present, there are about 20 such groups in Assam alone and another five in neighbouring Manipur. Each of these groups plays a different role. For instance, the Islamic Sewak Sangha [ISS] is said to be assisting radicals in crossing the Indo-Bangladesh border, while the Harkat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami (HuJI) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) help them obtain training in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The most active among these groups are the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam [MULTA] and the People's United Liberation Front [PULF]. While the former confines its activities to Assam, the latter operates in Manipur as well as in the adjoining districts of south Assam. Their presence has also been felt in the neighbouring States of Nagaland and Meghalaya. The PULF added to its strength in May 2007 by absorbing the Manipur-based Islamic National Front.

According to intelligence reports, activists of the two groups have been taking shelter in Assam's border areas, seminaries and in areas dominated by religious minorities. In Assam, they have been carrying out a propaganda campaign in support of a separate "Islamic homeland," which, they envision, would be a society based on Islamic values and mores. For instance, the PULF has "banned" the consumption of alcohol among Manipuri Muslims since 2004. It has punished several people for peddling drugs. And it has asked Manipuri Muslims to wear traditional Islamic attire.

These groups have ideological ties with foreign-based Islamist outfits such as the HuJI and HuM, which are commanded by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence [ISI]. HuM had reportedly recruited and dispatched a number of Assamese youth for training as far away as Pakistan. HuJI is currently coordinating the activities of these groups. Security analysts have warned that the ISI's long-term goal in the region is to boost the activities of these Islamic groups and convert the region into a 'terror zone". It has also been making efforts to use several Kashmiri and Bangladesh-based Islamist groups in the region. The Lashkar-e-Toiba [LeT], according to Delhi Police sources, has been trying to tie up with North-East militant outfits like the PULF. This came to light following the arrest of three alleged LeT operatives hailing from Manipur, in Delhi on December 19, 2006.

So far, these outfits have chosen not to directly indulge in violent activities such as attacks against security forces. But their ties with foreign based Islamic outfits like HuJI and HuM is a cause of concern. In 2006, at least thirteen MULTA cadres were arrested in Assam and another eleven have been apprehended till June 2007. In Manipur at least nine PULF cadres were killed and another eleven arrested in 2006. Till July 2007, at least four PULF cadres have been killed, while twenty-five others have been arrested.

Reports coming in suggest that they have also established close ties with the region's most violent group, the ULFA. There are reports of some ULFA militants working as agents of MULTA. One among them is Bikash Roy alias Mallic Ahmed, arrested from Guwahati on January 22, 2007.

Both PULF and MULTA are reportedly engaged in gunrunning and extortion. They reportedly supplied assorted weapons to other local militant groups including the ULFA. MULTA reportedly owns several houses in the Sylhet district of Bangladesh to shelter recruits and some leaders of the outfit. They often use Shillong and Lad Rymbai in the Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya as hideouts en route to and from Bangladesh.

Apprehensions about the alleged plan of establishing an 'Islamic homeland' in the region has been further compounded by the steady rise in the Muslim population in the North-East in general and Assam in particular. According to the 2001 Census, the Muslim population in the North-East was recorded at 8,858,543 as against 6,805,647 in 1991. Out of this, Assam's share was recorded at 8,240,611, followed by Tripura at 254,442 and Manipur at 190,939. Five other states have Muslim populations of less than one lakh: 99,169 in Meghalaya, 10,099 in Mizoram, 35,005 in Nagaland, 7,693 in Sikkim, and 20,675 in Arunachal Pradesh. As the 2001 Census data indicates, in Assam, the overall Hindu population was 64.9 per cent as against 67.1 per cent in 1991, while the Muslim population for the corresponding years stood at 30.9 per cent and 28.4 per cent respectively. Though several factors might have contributed to this demographic change, several analysts believe that the unabated influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh could be a major factor in this increase.

The impact of Bangladeshi migrants is also visible in the unstable demographic profile of Nagaland. With a population of 1,988,636 as per the Census of 2001, Nagaland recorded the highest rate of population growth in India, from 56.08 per cent in 1981-1991 to 64.41 per cent in the decade 1991-2001. While the population growth has been uniform throughout the State, several areas in the Dimapur and Wokha districts bordering Assam have recorded exceptionally high rates of population growth. Wokha district, bordering the Golaghat district of Assam, recorded a growth of 95.01 per cent between 1991 and 2001, the highest figure for any district in the entire country. Evidently, the silent and unchecked influx of illegal migrants in the district has played a crucial role in this abnormal growth.

Against the backdrop of these developments, the abnormal increase in the number of madrassas in Assam numbering about 1466, of which 810 are registered, is a matter of concern. Intelligence agencies are worried that many of these madrassas could become safe havens for radical elements.

Islamic groups have been silent on the burning issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh to Assam. Intelligence agencies express apprehensions about these groups being instigated into taking recourse to violence by other externally-based Islamic groups on the pretext of safeguarding the interests of the minorities facing harassment at the hands of organisations spearheading the oust-Bangladeshi campaign elsewhere in the region. Intelligence agencies fear that the tug-of-war over migrants of suspected Bangladeshi origin could become the trigger for groups such as HuJI to fish in the troubled waters of the North-East.

The emergence of these groups and their ability to strike deals with prominent outfits like the ULFA and foreign-based Islamic groups has added a new twist to the extremely complex security environment that besets the North-East region. The best possible way to counter this emerging threat is to break their nexus with outfits like the ULFA and their external allies. Not being able to break this unholy alliance will prove to be costly for India's security in the years to come.

Terrorism & Internal Security Northeast India, Assam, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI), United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), People's United Liberation Front (PULF), Meitei Militants, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) Tackling the Challenge Posed by Amateur Terrorists August 01, 2007 Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay

After a month of global media frenzy, alliterative headlines, statements by senior politicians across continents, charges and rebuttals, the terrorist attempts in London and Glasgow appear to be finally gaining some concrete shape. The attempts, which coincided with the second anniversary of the July 7 terrorist attacks on the London Underground, and the subsequent arrests, present a changing trend. The most striking aspect of these failed terrorist attacks is the social and professional strata of the persons detained on charges of involvement. Profiles of the detained persons do not conform to the hitherto existing pattern of second or third generation Muslim immigrants or converts. Rather, persons with considerable professional expertise and a respectable career seem to have exploited the British National Health Service (NHS) to plan these attacks. Apart from sharing the same religious belief, the other common denominator among the perpetrators was their professional accomplishment.

However, strictly speaking, the involvement of professionals - based or raised in Europe - in terrorist activities is not all that new a phenomenon. Omar Sheikh - a dropout from the London School of Economics - was involved in terrorist activities in the Indian subcontinent. Dhiren Barot, a British convert, was given a forty-year sentence in 2006 (reduced to 30 years subsequently) on charges of planning terrorist attacks. It may also be recalled that some young German nationals or residents were recently arrested along the Pakistan-Iran border. German authorities suspect that young German nationals have chosen to go to Afghanistan to obtain training in terrorist camps there. Quoting August Hanning, the State Secretary for the Interior, as well as German Interior Ministry sources, German media reports have emphasised that Pakistan has become the Mecca for the training of Islamist combatants of different hues. The German Interior Ministry is reportedly aware of at least fourteen German radicals who have in recent months sneaked into Pakistan to obtain armed training there. German authorities are worried that these radicals might, upon their return, target installations in the home country. In fact, two Lebanese students made an unsuccessful attempt last year to explode suitcase bombs at Koblenz and Dortmund stations, angered by the publication of a cartoon series about the Prophet Mohammad in the Danish daily Jyllands Posten. And last week in Italy, police arrested an Imam and his assistants at a mosque in Perugia for using the internet to download combat training manuals as well as for hoarding chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives.

While European governments have been justifiably worried about the return of radicals from training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they are at the same time confronted by a new trend - the involvement of autodidacts who use their professional expertise in other areas and supplement this with information gleaned from cyberspace. Observers of the global terror scenario have in unison suggested that the recent terror attempts in London and Glasgow were 'amateurish' or 'do-it-yourself' type and lacked 'professional execution'. However, the fact remains that that no government or security agency would wish to take any chance of attempts by such 'terror-clowns' succeeding even remotely, for it would only further encourage other autodidacts to indulge in such a sinister sport.

Apart from terrorist manuals that are freely available in cyberspace, rhetorical statements and more importantly the personal memoirs of jihadists who are believed to have waged jihad in various conflict zones also contribute enormously to the radicalisation of susceptible Muslim youth in Europe. For example, "The Army of Madinah in Kashmir" written by Dhiren Barot under the pseudonym of 'Esa Al-Hindi is a classic case in point. In this book Barot not only justifies violence in a non-emotive style but his vivid operational details offer proof of the authenticity of his personal experience. The book was originally brought out by a Birmingham-based publishing house, Maktabah Al Ansaar in 1999, and till Barot's conviction in November 2006 an electronic version could easily be downloaded from the internet. Thus, the threat of silent and quick radicalisation of students and professionals with access to sophisticated means of communications, especially the internet, looms large before the international community.

The question that now confronts us is how to tackle this looming threat. The United Kingdom, for its part, has, since July 2005, been attempting to send strong signals to home-grown radicals and to roving rabble rousers from West Asia and other places that the rules of the game have changed. British courts recently awarded forty year sentences to the four perpetrators of the foiled July 21, 2005 attacks in London, and a ten year sentence to Younis Tsouli - a Moroccan terror internet expert based in the UK - on charges of running Jihadi websites. Gordon Brown's appointment of Admiral Sir Alan West as the Parliamentary Under Secretary in charge of Security is also a distinct measure in this direction. Whether other counter-terrorist measures like longer detention periods, prohibiting the frontal organisations of virulent radical Islamist groups, and cooperation with affected countries would be successful in the long run would depend upon a wider political consensus at home. Nonetheless, the exact nature of the threat has been eloquently assessed by Sir Alan when he described the present threat of radicalisation of a section of Muslim youth in the UK as a generational one and that the remedial process may take a minimum of fifteen years. It is time to build upon this sound understanding of the problem at hand.

Nuclear and Arms Control United Kingdom, London Attack, Terrorism Jointness in India’s Military —What it is and What it Must Be August 2007 P. S. Das


Time and Space have collapsed in modern warfare. At one end, nations do not have the luxury of continuing to wage war for long durations. Apart from military, economic and domestic limitations, there is the coercive pressure of the international environment which does not permit much latitude. Therefore, the need to achieve strategic goals in the shortest possible time has become critical. The difference between tactical gains, achieved in a shorter time frame, and strategic benefits which could take longer, has blurred and future conflicts would focus on the latter from the very outset. For this same reason, political involvement in the conduct of military warfare has increased.

On a different plane, long range precision weapons have enabled parties to attack adversaries over great distances. This has nullified, to a great extent, the limitations of slow movement of battle which was the norm in earlier years. Added to these two is the networking of forces which not only enables real time sharing of intelligence and information between widely dispersed forces but also, if harnessed properly, permits the most appropriate and available resources to be brought to bear upon the adversary in the shortest possible time; to minimize the interval between sensing and shooting, ideally to zero, is the requirement. The speed of processing of information, decision making and execution are critical to achieve this objective.

Therefore, old concepts of jointness based on cooperation and coordination between different wings of the military with tri-Service execution are no longer enough; there is need to cement this with structures which are based on integrated planning and operations under one unified authority with responsibility and accountability. Such an institution will, obviously, have components of different wings placed under it but these would be subordinate to it and not to their own Service Chiefs. This is the requirement of modern warfare. The Indian system, in which these things are processed in a triumvirate fashion, is very unsuited to cope with the new environment.

Some naive arguments are projected by those who oppose changes. One of these is that the Americans need the kind of system that they have because their operations are stretched across the globe. This postulation is absurd. Sitting in the Operations Room of the US Central Command in Florida giving directions for operations in Yemen which would result in the neutralization of key Al Qaeda functionaries within ten minutes of their being spotted is no different to sitting in New Delhi and overseeing ongoing operations in the Arabian Sea or on the Western borders. Electronics provide real time data to both sets in the same time frame and the need for quick responses to developing situations is similar. It is not that the Americans must make decisions immediately while Indians have the luxury of time. Both must bring a variety of resources, some from different agencies, into play in the shortest possible time for achieving the best results. Also, networked forces now enable a composite picture to be available at Unified Headquarters instantly, unlike earlier scenarios when every platform reported to its own superior who then shared the information with others if he chose to do so. So, the type of coordinated trilateral operations which were typical of warfare in earlier days, are no longer appropriate or even relevant. The fact that almost all countries have followed the integrated command concept shows that this has nothing to do with global scale of operations.


To understand how and why India’s armed forces operate the way they do, one needs to go back into history. Until 1947, when India became an independent country, military affairs of the dominion came under the purview of Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), India, second in authority only to the Viceroy. Following the creation of a Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) in Great Britain in 1923, a similar institution was also constituted in India but with a slight difference. Unlike the parent COSC, its Indian counterpart had the Chief of General Staff (CGS) at General Headquarters (later Army Headquarters) as the permanent head, reporting to the C-in- C. While the Chiefs of the Navy and the Air Force could approach the C-in-C and even the Viceroy if they felt this to be necessary, higher direction of all military forces, thus, vested under a single authority.

This picture changed after independence. Major General Lionel Ismay, Chief of Staff to Admiral Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy, was asked to suggest suitable mechanisms for higher defence management in the new nation. Ismay proposed a COSC comprising the three Service Chiefs with the position of chairman being held, not by any one service chief, but by the person longest in the chair; in other words, on a rotational basis. He also suggested various other arrangements under the COSC to facilitate cohesion in the functioning of the three wings. This inter- Service structure was, by and large, a replica of the organization that had existed in Great Britain during the Second World War.

Interestingly, despite their overwhelming victory in that War, and the experience of having conducted several very large-scale tri-service military operations — for some of which they appointed Supreme Commanders, e.g., General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific theatre and General Dwight D. Eisenhower in Europe — the victors found serious flaws in their higher defence organizations. As a result, in the USA, a new dedicated authority termed Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), was constituted over and above the individual Service Chiefs, as the principal military adviser. All operational responsibility was vested in integrated theatre commands which had components from the three military wings subordinated to them. The Chiefs of Services were members of the JCS but had no direct operational involvement in their components. Many more changes have been made in the last six decades, many by legislation, requiring greater integration amongst the three wings of the military and this process is continuing.

In the United Kingdom, which had also seen Admiral Mountbatten as the Supreme Commander in South-East Asia during the Second World War, it took some time for the system to be reviewed. But by 1963, the UK had also abandoned the old system. The headquarters of the Navy, Army and Air Force were integrated with the Ministry of Defence. A dedicated Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was constituted, over and above the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as the principal military adviser; Mountbatten being the first to fill that position in 1959.

A dedicated and integrated Joint Forces Headquarters (JF HQ) was created under the CDS to exercise command over all operations in which the British armed forces might be involved. In the UK, more changes are progressively being made to further integrate the three wings of the military. Since then, almost all countries which operate credible military forces, e.g., France, Russia, Australia, and Germany have shifted to the integrated pattern of higher defence management with a principal military adviser. Even China, about as old an independent nation as India, follows that system.


Soon after Independence, India established two military institutions which were tailor made to promote jointness. One was the Joint Services Wing-later to become the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakvasla to train young cadets to become officers in the Armed Forces and the other, the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in Wellington, Tamil Nadu which would bring officers of the three wings together once again after about twelve years of service. To these were added, in due course, the College of Defence Management (CDM) at Secundera bad at a more senior level and, finally, the National Defence College (NDC) at New Delhi at the highest level of Brigadier and equivalent rank. This framework for joint training of officers at different levels and to bring them together again at different stages of their careers was, therefore, well laid and continues till now. It has yielded very good results in bringing about inter-service camaraderie.

Even as the large-scale migration of communities was taking place in the immediate aftermath of the Partition,Pakistan’s military forces, masquerading as freedom fighters, invaded Jammu and Kashmir. The ensuing conflict in 1947-48 was essentially an army action with air power used only to transport troops and equipment and to provide limited air support to ground troops. Later, in 1961, the military was again involved in a brief two-day conflict to liberate Goa, but this was without any opposition. Lieutenant General J.N. Chaudhari, then GOC-in-C Southern Command, was placed in charge of the overall operation. But that was the extent of jointness.

In the conflict with China in 1962, the Air Force and the Navy did not come into play at all and watched from the sidelines. Finally, the three wings did come to fight together against Pakistan in 1965 but without any preconceived plan. Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, IAF Chief at that time, has said on many occasions that he came to know that air support was needed only when hostilities had already broken out and the Army was under pressure in the Chammb sector. The Indian Navy went about doing its own thing, and was of no consequence to the war effort.

In short, in all these conflicts, whatever their extent and severity, it was essentially only land power that came into play. The Air Force did participate more meaningfully in the 1965 war but without much synergy with the plans of the Army. No post-conflict enquiries or studies were ordered. India proclaimed itself as the victor, without any supporting evidence; so did Pakistan. Such lessons as were learnt were not publicized and the manner of functioning remained unaltered.

THE 1971 WAR

The war with Pakistan in 1971 was the first real military operation since Independence in which all three wings of the Indian Armed Forces were full participants. By April of that year, it had been assessed that military conflict was likely, even inevitable. The Army Chief, General (later Field Marshal) S.H.F.J. Manekshaw wanted time to complete preparations, for the monsoon season to get over and also for winter to set in so that mountain passes on the India-China border would be rendered impassable. These factors taken together, allowed the Armed Forces about seven months to get their act in order.

In this period, it was expected that the military would formulate a common and synergized plan into which operations of all three wings would be dovetailed. This did not happen. There was no integrated planning of the campaign which resulted in quite a few unplanned and uncoordinated decisions being made. As the war progressed, for example, the sudden decision to launch an assault on Chittagong, was soon changed to Cox Bazaar. The troops chosen, Gurkhas, with their short stature and relative unfamiliarity with water, were singularly unsuited for that purpose. There was no training, and beach survey, a crucial prerequisite, was inadequate. Not surprisingly, the operation was a total fiasco with no aims achieved and some lives lost. In another episode, IAF Gnats attacked Mukti Bahini vessels operating in the waters off Khulna without being aware that these were our own. One of the two boats sank, some of the crew killed, and others wounded and captured.

There is enough evidence in published literature of that conflict, principally from the autobiography of the then Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal and the biography of the then Naval Chief Admiral S.M. Nanda, highlighting the differences in the way in which operations were planned and conducted by their Army counterparts. The attacks carried out on vital installations at Karachi from the air and by sea, were also not part of any combined plan. There are other instances of mismatch between the different wings. Lieutenant General J.F.R. Jacob, who, as Chief of Staff of the Eastern Command was responsible for conduct of operations in the eastern sector, has gone on record to say that the three wings of the military went about doing their own things without any synergy and that he, himself, disregarded the orders of the Army Chief in regard to the conduct of the land battle! No more needs to be said.

Victory in what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) came swiftly, partly due to the demoralization of the adversary, and in the wake of resulting euphoria, few attempts were made to reflect upon and to correct the shortcomings. The argument was simple; the structure was working; it had just proved itself and there was no need for any change. Once again, the war was fought in a tripartite fashion with no unified or accountable military authority in command even though, as might be expected, the Army Chief was primus inter pares for the political leadership. Not unexpectedly, this reluctance to boldly institutionalize the ground reality resulted in more discord than harmony.


India’s armed forces were called to action in 1987 once again, albeit in a somewhat modified role, when they were asked to proceed as the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka. The government of J.R. Jaywardene was in confrontation with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). This time a good beginning was made. The Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) appointed the GOC-in-C Southern Command, Lieutenant General Depinder Singh as the Overall Force Commander (OFC). Component Commanders from the three wings were subordinated to him with command of operational forces delegated from the Eastern Naval Command and the Southern Air Command respectively. A formal Directive was issued to the OFC to undertake the ordered missions in Sri Lanka. It appeared that the Indian military hierarchy had finally come of age; alas this proved too good to be true. In less than a month from the time that IPKF moved into Sri Lanka, the situation was turned on its head. The Navy and IAF Cs-in-C, responsible for providing forces, declined to delegate command and forced their superiors in New Delhi, i.e., the Chiefs, to get the component commanders designated as Liaison Officers with no role other than to act as go betweens between the headquarters of the OFC and of the Cs-in-C. Relatively junior officers were appointed to do this work, further diluting the authority and accountability of the OFC. The COSC, with no dedicated head, was, itself, shown up as a weak structure, with its own internal rifts and dissension and incapable of enforcing its will. The IPKF grew from one division in 1987 to four by 1989, but it was never one force under one command, as originally contemplated. The OFC lost credibility and was, in effect, just the commander of the land forces with the other two wings cooperating, but independently. There were numerous other areas of discord which need not be elaborated here. Apart from the political infirmities of the intervention, poor command and control must rate as the most important military failure of Operation Pawan.


India went to war yet again in 1999, fighting to regain the hill positions in the Kargil sector of Jammu and Kashmir, taken over by Pakistan by subterfuge. It was essentially a land battle in which some air power was used to soften enemy positions. The Navy, somewhat exaggeratedly, decided to concentrate its entire strength on the western seaboard (such deployments do not come without great cost), signaling a degree of belligerence not visible in the political posture. It took two months for the Indian forces to regain the heights after Pakistan was forced to withdraw, partly through American pressure.

The war might have taken much longer had this not happened. There are now enough revelations to show the mismatches between the highest military leadership. The Air Force was not prepared to provide the helicopters that the Indian Army requested. The Army, for its part, was reluctant to share full details of what had actually happened. When the Army sought air strikes, the Air Chief, quite correctly, demurred on the logic that this required political approval. In short, once again we were stumbling into action without a synergized plan. If former IAF Chief A.Y. Tipnis is to be believed, matters had reached such a state that the then Army Chief, General V.P. Malik, angrily walked out of a COSC meeting muttering that he would handle things by himself. While some stress and strain in relationships are inherent in any tense environment, these probably exceeded the norm.

What, however, differentiated this conflict from the others was the fact that for the first time in five decades the government constituted a high powered commission to look at the obvious infirmities in the management of national security. The Kargil Review Committee (KRC) came up with a comprehensive report highlighting numerous weaknesses including an inadequately responsive structure for higher defence management. The government formed a Group of Ministers (GOM) which, in turn, constituted four Task Forces comprising persons of experience and knowledge to examine the areas of weakness identified by the KRC. These groups did their work with alacrity, produced reports within four months and in less than a year from its constitution the GOM had made several far reaching recommendations. Those relating to higher management of defence were the most comprehensive and, all save one, were approved. Unfortunately, the most important of them, crucial to the functioning of the armed forces, viz., creation of a dedicated Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as the principal military adviser, was held in abeyance and continues to remain so.


The historical dimension of the functioning of India’s Armed Forces has been discussed above. There are some other factors which have contributed to the military’s mindset. First, almost all conflicts that India has fought, have been essentially land wars in which the Army has been the predominant player. The threats faced by the country have been
focused across the border. Insurgency and low intensity conflict have also been in its domain. In fact, while the air and naval forces have found it possible to have long periods of peace interspersed with a few weeks of war, the Army has been continuously engaged, either in military conflict or in low intensity operations. There is, therefore, the feeling, not unreasonable, that it is the main, if not the only, armed force. Second, its size itself creates a feeling of self importance and as a consequence, a defensive mindset in the others. Third, the Air Force, traditionally seen only as a supporting arm, has consistently sought an independent stature, partly by refusing to get conjoined with the others, principally the Army and partly by stressing the strategic role of air power. The Indian Navy has a more fortunate position, operating as it does in a domain in which others can play only supporting roles. Finally, the Armed Forces, themselves, are quite happy with the existing arrangements in which each Chief operates and develops his own Service almost autonomously without any involvement with the others. The political
leadership has found it expedient not to disturb this unsatisfactory broth.

At this stage, it might be useful to consider how the Indian military operates. The three Service Chiefs, despite having been converted from Commanders-in-Chief of their respective wings into Chiefs of Staff in 1955, continue to act in their former roles and are, therefore, responsible for conduct of operations. They do this by issuing directives to their respective commanders; for example, in the Navy, these are the Western and Eastern Naval Commands which, in turn, give out orders to their subordinate operational commanders and task forces. Where any assistance is required from another wing, say air support from the Air Force, this has to be arranged through the Maritime Air Operations (MAO) authority in Mumbai, an Air Force institution, acting as the link. The MAO interacts with the appropriate Air Force Command headquarters which, in turn, issues instructions to the IAF station holding the relevant air assets. Often, Air Headquarters itself may have to be approached. The arrangement is about the same as far as the Army is concerned. All operational Army Commands have Air Force elements attached to them, not as subordinates but as advisers. They, in turn, interact with their own superiors to arrange the desired support through Air Force stations. In brief, the inter-Service interaction is through several tiers, both laterally and vertically. The desired air support might not be provided, possibly for good reason and even if it is, may not be in the form and strength requisitioned. Thus, the person responsible for execution of a task does not have control over all the forces that are deployed; on the other hand, the authority providing supporting forces is not responsible for successful achievement of the operation. The shortcomings of this system are readily apparent.

But the situation has begun to change. Most significant to modern day warfare is the recognition of the dominant role that air power must play in any military environment. On land or at sea, control of the air space in the operating area is essential to the successful conduct of battle. Whether provided by shore based aircraft or from those launched by aircraft carriers at sea, air power has become a determining factor. While it cannot replace boots on ground, its impact on warfare has become overwhelming. This, in turn, has, greatly diminished some of the sensitivities that prevailed earlier. The second major change is in the increasing dimension of concerns at sea. The sustained growth of economy, a key national interest, requires security of overseas trade and energy, both almost entirely seaborne, and safety of sea lanes and offshore assets has, therefore, assumed much more importance even as threats on the land borders are diminishing. The ability of seagoing forces to impact the war on land has also increased. For example, facilities on the coast as well as in the hinterland of the adversary, can, often, be better attacked from the sea than from land or air bases. Cruise missiles of longer range, which could be in our inventory in the next ten years, will further enhance this capability. Finally, no expeditionary or out of area activity can be carried out without the closest possible synergy amongst the three wings of the military.

Along with these operational imperatives, military hardware has also become extremely costly and it is essential that its induction should follow critical analyses of inter se priorities and cost benefit considerations which is possible only under an integrated planning system. For all these reasons, it has become even more important that plans of the three Services are developed and then executed in an integrated fashion and under one common superior. This is not to suggest that there will not be glitches even if changes are made in the way we do things; some of them might even be damaging in their effect, but overall, the likelihood of their occurrence will be much less and the ability of the organization to respond to them effectively, much greater.


That the need for change has been recognized, albeit slowly, is visible in some recent developments. The transformation in the command structure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is an example. This organization started with a miniscule Resident Naval Officer (RNO) from which it grew into that of a Naval Officer in Charge (NOIC) and then into a more elevated and robust Fortress Commander (FORTAN) of the rank of Vice Admiral. The Fortress Command was sought to be given an integrated profile with the positioning of a Brigade Headquarters with two battalions under its direct operational control. However, the Air Force declined to follow suit and its forces at Car Nicobar continued to operate under the orders of the AOC-in-C Southern Air Command stationed in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Under this utterly archaic arrangement not a single sortie of even one helicopter could be ordered by the FORTAN! Thus, such integration as was there took on a largely cosmetic content with personal relationships being the determining factor; nevertheless, this was still something beyond what obtained on the
mainland. This half-baked arrangement continued until 2001 when, based on the GOM recommendations, this structure was finally converted into an integrated theatre command. The C-in-C Andaman and Nicobar, thus, became the first Unified Commander in the Indian Armed Forces with all three wings and the Coast Guard under his direct command. This marked a breakthrough in a system which had not seen any change in the fifty years that had elapsed since Lord Ismay. The integrated structure went through an initial period of acclimatization with occasional hiccups; the fact that it is subordinate to the triumvirate COSC with infirmities of its own and not to one superior adds to the difficulties. Nevertheless, the new integrated command was soon tested in the Tsunami disaster of 2004 when it proved itself by contributing substantially to the efficient conduct of the large scale rescue and relief operations based on synergized planning and execution under a single accountable authority.


So, where do we go from here? A second unified and integrated military command entity, the Strategic Forces Command, also under the COSC, was instituted at the same time as the structure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It does not, at present, have forces under operational control -- these will come later -- but has responsibility and accountability for the strategic domain. These are positive developments. At present, in addition to these two integrated commands, the Army and the Air Force have seven Commands each, while the Navy has three. The Navy’s Western Command, responsible for the entire western seaboard, has to interact with two Commands of the Air Force, Southern and South Western and two of the Army. The same is the case on the eastern
seaboard. Similarly, the Southern Command of the Army must interact with the Southern as well as South West Commands of the Air Force.

The structure, as can be easily imagined, is not only cumbersome and inefficient but also wasteful in resources. Training, maintenance and logistics continue to be individual Service functions. Looked at dispassionately, there is just no reason why these functions cannot be combined in dedicated Commands with components covering all three wings. Operationally, there could be four to six theatre commands structured geographically; within them, unified commanders could be appointed for specific operations whenever these become necessary. Other integrated Commands for Space, Special Forces, Logistics, Training and Maintenance can also be put in place. The existing Commands could then be reduced from 17, as at present (excluding the two new Commands mentioned earlier), to no more than a dozen bringing about significant reduction in manpower while providing greater efficiency and accountability. Various models can be worked out but, in principle, unified and integrated functioning must be their theme. This restructuring will also enable the Indian military to become lean and mean; its present teeth-to-tail ratio is, possibly, the worst amongst all armed forces of substance.

It is not that this kind of restructuring was not examined by the GOM when they made their recommendations for the better management of defence. It considered that integration should be achieved progressively and provided, initially, for two such institutions. At the same time, it recommended the creation of a CDS who would act as the principal military adviser to the government and, apart from acting as the direct superior of the two new integrated commands, would also oversee force development in the armed forces. These arrangements were to be reviewed after five years in 2005 when further changes could be made leading to greater integration in the higher direction of military affairs. Unfortunately, the political leadership of that time accepted the need for an Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) but baulked at appointing a CDS, thus leaving the former without a head, and that of today has not found it necessary to order a review. It is necessary that the exercise be updated and more changes made. Sooner rather than later, India must have a CDS and integrated theatre commands and given the existing realities, this CDS, in the next five or six years, must be from the Army. In time, the system will settle allowing higher Commanders from all three Services to be eligible for the post.

There are some who argue that change must come from below. This is a fallacy. In every country where management of defence has undergone change, direction has come from the top, always from the political leadership, and despite great opposition from the military leadership. Of all systems, the armed forces are traditionally the most resistant to change which will, inevitably, impinge upon their established work patterns and turfs. In the USA, changes have been legislatively mandated which gives them greater meaning and provide no latitude for dilution. Some countries have taken the executive route. The former is preferable but given the Indian environment the latter might be more practicable.


Six decades after Lord Ismay put the higher Indian military structure in place, its contours have become frayed and its logic and rationale questionable, given the changed nature of warfare. The needs of today, much less of the future, cannot be met by the lethargic and unwieldy mechanisms that are in place. We are already well behind in adapting to these changes. Cooperation achieved through personal relations and friendship, facilitated by training together in joint colleges and academies, is a good thing but it can never be a substitute for well structured and formal institutions. It will not be able to stand the stresses and strains of modern military conflict. Wisdom lies in recognizing this truth and creating a system which will be better suited to cope with the new environment. It is time for the political leadership to look at the relevant issues critically and boldly. Until now, it has tended to avoid dealing with issues which would ruffle military feathers; consequently, sticking to the status quo has been the preferred approach. There is a sense that this hesitancy might also be due to the fear that a CDS could become too powerful an entity and that a weak COSC, beset by its own parochialism, is less threatening. Such fears, if they are there, are misplaced. India is now too strong a democracy to succumb to military adventurism; even the armed forces will not accept it.

In short, the time has come to take the bull by the horns. For this, it will be necessary to reconvene a fresh GOM, served by a group of experts, and move further down the road already taken. The Indian military of the 21st century must be equipped to cope with the challenges with which it is likely to be confronted, not only with hardware and manpower of the desired quantity and quality but equally with structures which will exploit these capabilities in the most efficient and economical way. Integrated force development along with operations under unified command, is the way forward. That is the real meaning of jointness, not what passes for it today._

Military Jointness in Strategic Capabilities: Can we avoid it? August 2007 Raja Menon

Jointness has so far eluded the Indian Armed Forces. All thinking officers in the services are aware that much more jointness cannot be avoided if the Indian Armed Forces are to retain their excellent reputation. But this thinking community often comes up abruptly against many senior officers who dissuade them from being idealistic, on the grounds that under the cloak of jointness, their individual services would suffer losses in men, responsibilities and budgeting.

The anti-jointness lobby pride themselves on being hard-headed realists who understand the inevitable in-fighting in Delhi and pride themselves on their mastery of this vicious process. At the same time there have been intermittent periods of jointness which have often pulled the Indian strategic chestnuts out of the fire, with relative ease. But these events are sporadic and were never converted into a process1. The airlift of the Sikhs and Kumaonis to save Srinagar in 1947, and the paradrop at Tangail in 1971 are often quoted as fine examples of jointness. But those who bring up these examples do a great disservice to the debate, by permitting the status–quoists to re-assure themselves that all is therefore well and no reform is necessary2.

Most commentators on the subject of jointness at the top will begin their presentation with Lord Ismay’s recommendations for the higher defence set up in India. They will also remark how the Ismay committee recommendations must have been comprehensive, since even the Americans asked for his services after World War II. Ismay, it is true made sensible recommendations to the Government of India on the higher defence set-up for a parliamentary form of government, with no integration of the three services, as was the practice in 1945, in the UK. The Ismay set-up was in any case destroyed by V.K. Krishna Menon during his tenure as Defence Minister. So the excellent joint institutions, like the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) which brilliantly handled the Revolt of the Ranas in Nepal in 1949/50, ceased to function effectively after Krishna Menon finished his tenure3. Today, the DCC is still an effective institution in the UK, whereas in India it has been overtaken by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs(CCPA) and Cabinet Commitee on Security (CCS).

The Americans in the meanwhile passed the Act creating the National Security Council (NSC) and created the post of the National Security Adviser (NSA) in 1947, so any merit ascribed to Ismay in creating the American system was short lived and ephemeral. In the sixties, the UK, faced with the complexities of fielding nuclear weapons, were forced to create a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and integrate the services headquarters (SHQ)and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) into one Headquarters4. The Ismay committee recommendations were therefore overtaken by events and time in both the USA and the UK. In July 2007, the UK also switched over to the National Security Council system after being shaken by the Glasgow bombing scare. The outlines of the UK’s NSC are yet to emerge but Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ascribed the need for greater coordination, as the reason for the UK’s belated shift to the NSC system.

The UK had occasion to rely on the CDS system in a non-nuclear war in 1982 when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took the decision to fight for the Falklands Islands and an extremely coordinated join operations plan was evolved by the CDS. The Falklands war is an important case study, of a Commonwealth country with a parliamentary system, fighting an overseas war, without allies, in a joint manner. The structure, ethos and training of the British forces had been forcibly oriented towards fighting the USSR, as part of NATO and no-one else. The decision making process, higher command organization and conduct of the Falklands war are therefore a valuable lesson in how a joint organisation can cope with an unexpected strategic surprise. The Falklands operation fought under a CDS, is in stark contrast to an Indian operation undertaken less than five years later in Sri Lanka.

Many books that have come out of the Indian experience in operation Pawan and Lieutenant General Depinder Singh’s lament5 of the inadequacies of the command set-up are poignant. The results of the Pawan fiasco are there for all to see. Within a year of its start, the Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy (IN) had been reduced to transport services. The IN failed to isolate Sri Lanka, an island. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) failed to provide any intelligence of the departure of Sri Lankan ships from their armaments purchase bases in South-East Asia6, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)contributed virtually nothing and the force commander did a magnificient job in coordination with the Indian Ambassador in Sri Lanka. These two authorities eventually enabled India to put up a respectable performance in North East Sri Lanka, assisted by the excellent spirit of the common soldier and officer. The higher command organization failed the country.

The most distinguished soldier to make out a case for jointness was Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, who brought up this subject immediately after his famous victory of 1971. Speaking at the staff college in Wellington, Manekshaw made the telling comment that the area commands in India were dysfunctional, needed to be reduced to joint commands and which would operate under a CDS. Manekshaw’s thrust at the time was that the existing service commands had grown organically and historically and were unreal in every other sense.7 He was referring to the way in which India would fight its wars in the future. But by the late eighties and early nineties it had become clear that the absence of jointness had begun to cripple national security even in peacetime. The prime factor was technology, with which India was beginning to catch up and which required a common approach by the services and the MoD.

Before going into the current state of affairs, it would be useful to look at the two occasions on which India had to fight, in one case in the immediate neighbourhood, and one in the West Asia. To take the latter case first -- the establishment of the state of Iraq with the help of the Indian Army, in the period between 1915 and 1924, makes a good case study.

It is true that oil had been discovered in Iraq, Lord Jellico had converted the Royal(RA)from coal burning to ships with oil fired furnaces. Apart from the unreliable oil from Baku and the long Atlantic route to American oil, here was a rich source, which was made available to the RN’s fuel offtake at Haifa from a pipeline running through Syria. Iraq had therefore to become a nation and the forces put together by Whitehall show a level of integration, yet to be achieved in modern India. Under the C-in-C in Iraq, was a political adviser reporting directly to Whitehall, the Royal Air Force and Royal Indian Air Force contingent, a Royal Indian Navy lift capability, and representatives from the Indian Civil Service, Posts and Telegraph, Railways, Education, veterinary and agricultural sciences, judiciary, religious affairs, prisons and the Public Works Department8.

The second example is the re-conquest of Burma. With General Joseph Stilwell operating in North Burma, Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault running an independent air force in Southern China, and the need to project British Indian power into Burma, the British were forced to accept, what was until then, an American idea – joint command. Although derided as a princeling by the Americans, Lord Mountbatten’s South-East Asia Command had an independent land, sea and air force commander. Of these only the land force commander

– Field Marshal William Slim, made an impact upon history. But the command structure set up by India to reconquer Burma – arguably the best land campaign against the Japanese in World War II is another example of a brilliantly successful war, fought in a joint way. Post independence wars offer a poor comparison to the Burma model, and that includes all our wars, including the unfortunate debate that surfaced about the use of the air force in Kargil9. The tragedy about this last controversy is that there is very little to distinguish it from the deathly silence in 1962 on why India did not use air power in a superior tactical situation against the advancing Chinese.

These historical examples are only the necessary background to what must form the core of this paper -- why the absence of jointness is crippling modern India’s security strategy? To understand this one must go back to the end-eighties when the Soviets were in Afghanistan, the Cold War was about to end, and Pakistan had become a nuclear power (1987) according to the now infamous A.Q. Khan press interview.

With the commencement of the ‘Azaadi’ campaign of terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir came the Indian decision to weaponise its latent nuclear capability. Pakistan was building ballistic missiles, the secret deal with the Chinese had already been signed by Islamabad and the Soviet colossus was about to collapse, freeing the Central Asian
Republics to go their own way. India was on the look out for longrange aircraft, for the first time in the history of the Indian Air Force, the Army was seriously into satellite communications and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) had just put together a ballistic missile -- the Prithvi, the worst surface- to- surface missile which did not meet the requirements of India’s nuclear deterrant10.

A decade later the strategic world around India had changed forever. The Chinese juggernaut was running full speed, the Soviet Union had collapsed and the Americans had just demonstrated the power of littoral warfare and ‘dominance of the battlespace’. It was in this ambience that India became a nuclear weapon power and was confronted with the choices that all nuclear powers have to make - - the crafting of the necessary command and control apparatus. Having spent the Cold War years, whining and complaining about nuclear weapons, the nuclear arms race, nuclear Apartheid and the imminent risk of nuclear war, the Indian strategic community was ill prepared to become a competently managed nuclear weapons power, in its own right. The first hurdle to get over was the route and method to be adopted to bring the armed forces into the picture. Until 1998, their only role had been to dig the holes in Pokhran to receive the weapons to be tested. The second task before the nation was to define the human and technical aspects of the command and control system.

Upto 1998, the only organization that had any idea of a command and control system were the three Services. The Director General of Militatary Operations (DGMO’s) operations room had been used on many occasions as a national command post, most notably at the meeting to launch Operation Cactus – the brilliant recapture of Male, in the Maldives. The Indian Navy was the most familiar with the technical aspects of creating a cohesive tactical picture, and the air force lived and fought with the Air Defence Ground Environment System (ADGES). But the services were as yet out of the loop, and the bureaucracy, most notably the Cabinet Secretariat was not going to give up without a fight. A Special Secretary was appointed to convene a group to decide on the parameters of a National Command Post and at the first meeting the Chairman made it clear that he had not the faintest idea of what he had been tasked with11. A few years later, an NSA had been appointed and combined with the post of the Personal Secretary to the Prime Minister. He became the supreme functionary in the land. At this stage, the NSA’s office had all the powers and advice to have installed a well crafted command and control system, but over a period of four years, every opportunity presented was allowed to lapse, unexploited.

During these years the services began to slowly grow apart until pulled together by what must be regarded as the best reforms of the post-independence national security apparatus – the Arun Singh committee’s work on higher decision making. The other aspect of the first decade was the fact that the pace of institutionalizing the C2 system was not driven by any internal initiative, but the anxiety created by the speed at which Pakistan was putting its act together, and the mounting threat of nuclear collusion between China and Pakistan. The external stimulus forced the NSA to create the Strategic Force Commander (SFC), but to this day, his reporting chain remains as ambiguous as when the post was created. The reason for this was two fold – firstly the post of the CDS was not approved, before the Arun Singh committee was dissolved, and George Fernandes re-entered the Defence Ministry, having survived the Tehelka scandal. Hence the SFC has no senior officer between him and ‘civilian control’. The second was that the NSA, who was authorized to have a staff, when first created, put together a secretariat – which still functions as such. The latter failure stems from the civil and foreign office bureaucracy’s inability to understand the difference between a staff and a secretariat. Had the first NSA run a genuine staff, including a nuclear staff, the SFC could have legitimately been fitted in under the NSA, at least for its operational functions. However, the failure of the M0D to create a CDS, and the failure to create a nuclear staff under the NSA, left the SFC, dangling like a puppet on a chain, held by two or three people at the same time.

Behind all these institutional lapses, there is the looming failure of Human Resource Development (HRD). At every level of the government, people who had never read or studied nuclear weapons or nuclear deterrence, suddenly found themselves occupying responsible posts charged with executing a nuclear staff role. The failure affected all
levels. Nuclear weapons and nuclear policy, must for instance be conducted with a certain level of transparency, because unlike conventional weapons, they are not meant to ‘surprise’ the enemy and ‘defeat’ him. These are common sense conclusions, which an average government officer should comprehend. Yet, to this day there is no commitment to any degree of transparency at any level of government. No responsible nuclear signalling takes place and determine whether deterrence exists or not. The Armed Forces which has custody of nuclear weapons has begun to conduct ad-hoc courses for officers appointed to the SFC. While this is a step forward, what the services actually need is a specialization in nuclear warfare, just like artillery, signals or engineering. This is yet to be discussed. Worse, higher policy is being run by bureaucrats with not even the minimal exposure to nuclear strategy that armed forces officers are given12.

There is little doubt however, that the biggest failure to achieve the kind of cohesion that the Pakistan Strategic Planning Directorate (SPD) gives the Pakistani government, comes from a failure of jointness among the Indian Armed Forces. The outer edges of this failure began to emerge in the mid-nineties, when the Army began to seriously look
at internal security as its bread and butter. The excessively infantry heavy Indian Army, began to see that power in New Delhi could only come from dealing with what irked the political leadership on a daily basis – insurgency and internal security. Therefore, despite the presence of almost one million para-military troops, and both international and Indian advice that internal security duties would destroy the Army, a certain section of the Indian Army seems wedded to the idea of fighting insurgency as a primary role.

This immediately separates the Army from the Navy and Air Force, neither of which sees any future in fighting Indians as their primary purpose. This also has other deleterious down stream effects. The insurgency fighting section of the Army is cynical about high technology, electronic sensors, data fusion, air power, computers and networking. There is clearly another forward thinking section of the army that believes in creating a hi-tech army like the one that China is creating – 40 divisions of combat power, but they are in a minority. The Navy sees no future without satellites, networking, electronic warfare dominance and situational awareness and all of it, extraterritorial. The Air Force has long been in a cleft stick. Unable and unwilling to use airpower in fighting insurgents, despite the lapse of eighteen years of the nation’s life having been spent on counter insurgency, the Air Force is now committed to winning the pure air war, as a prelude to any other operations -- and they are right in making that choice. But where the Navy and Air Force begin to fall out is the severe territorial limitations of Indian airpower – a condition the Navy is unwilling to accept.

Command, as everyone knows, is a non-starter without communications and in the nineties all the services realized the need to place their primary circuits on satellites. But the Army, first off the mark took the only transponder then available, in the C band while putting in an option for a C+ band later. The IAF was slowest off the mark since a troposcatter system already existed, and territorial static air defence could be managed on land lines. Hence they missed out on the challenges faced by the USAF, which is essentially an expeditionary air force, not having to defend the continental US in any conventional war. The Navy found no satellites with the footprint required of an aspiring Blue water navy. It’s only choice was a dedicated satellite with a large foot print13, since its strategic vision was distinctly different from that of the Army and Air Force. The vision of all the three services is now coming to pass in 2007/08, fifteen years after the discussions first began. A tri-service satellite communication system could easily run of the IA’s system, which has now opted for a much higher frequency and smaller mobile aerials.

The strategic command’s and in a way, the nation’s priorities of having a three-tier strategic command communication system has taken a relatively lower priority for the standard reason – that it is driven by officers not nearly as powerful as those driving the communications systems of the individual services. Much of this lacuna should have been ironed out with the formation of the Chief of Integrated Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC), the staff support to the joint office functioning under the CDS. The absence of a CDS has unfortunately cut the CISC off at the knees. This needs some amplification.

The CISC was supposed to integrate three important functions, which individual services were prone to do in their own way, namely, strategic assessment, budgeting and procurement. These were the same functions that had been centralised in the UK, when that country created the CDS. In addition, the CISC had under him a nuclear staff
under a junior three star officer. The first incumbent did a great job, representing the strategic interests of the nation in a tri-command pulling match with the DRDO (makers of missiles) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The nuclear staff functions of the CISC has now been given up, owing to the lack of authority of the CISC in dealing with authorities ‘outside’ the services. In the absence of the CDS, this function should have been performed by the chairman, COSC, but clearly some chairmen have shown considerably more commitment in performing their nuclear functions than others.

The consequences are serious for India’s nuclear strategy. It is one thing to create a nuclear arsenal, single-mindedly and blindly, on the grounds that that arsenal fulfils the requirements of minimum credible deterrence stipulated in the country’s nuclear doctrine. But how does one know whether there is deterrence or not? Most importantly who is this body that makes this calculation for the nation? The doctrine says that the arsenal is under civilian control. But what does that mean? Which civilian authority, institution or officer has the time, expertise and knowledge to conduct an Operations Research study to at least remove the subjective biases in arriving at what constitutes
deterrence?14 Offers were made during the tenure of the first NSA and NSCS to institute such an Operations Analysis body, but were declined15.

In the meanwhile, there are the disturbing instabilities created by the DRDO and the AEC being part of the strategic decision making group when in fact they operate both as government staff and as defence contractors. The acquisition of the ballistic missile Prithvi should be made into a case study of how the staff requirements system of the services were by-passed into aquiring a missile which did not fully meet the services’ essential requirements for effetive nuclear deterrance. There was an obvious conflict of interest in DRDO’s role as a defence contractor and advisor to the government advocating acceptane of a system produced by it. This is totally unacceptable and has been repeated in the case of the Brahmos. The acceptance of the Brahmos has occurred owing to huge technological backwardness of the services in foreseeing, demanding, specifying staff requirements and overseeing the development and manufacture of strategic systems like ballistic missiles, strategic cruise missiles, satellites for communications, surveillance and map making and the communication and hardware for the National Command Post. Criticism on all these deficiencies bring the constant refrain ‘we are getting there’16.

The services have been extremely competent in demanding specifying and overseeing the development of guns, ships, tanks, radars, sonars and Electronic Warfare ( EW) systems, because all these subjects are taught to military officers and there are specialists dealing with such equipment and weapons. Since nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, satellites and advanced systems belong to no single service, there is a frightening ad-hocism in their development and acquisition resulting from the absence of jointness and a CDS. It would not be an exaggeration to say that after 1995, when India became a strategic player, every strategic level acquisition that had joint capability has been a mess, while each service has meticulously managed its own single service acquisition programmes, be it tanks, submarines or aircraft. This neglect has to change.

Change can only come when strategic systems acquire an owner, in the same way that tanks are owned by the armoured corps and submarines are owned by the submarine arm of the navy. Nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and tri-service systems have no owners today, when in fact the chief owner should be the CDS, the most powerful of all owners. The Indian Army of all the three services, seem to have backtracked on the CDS concept, an idea that all previous army chiefs had fought for. In many ways the disarray in the higher defence set-up is as disappointing as it was in the US when the Goldwater– ichols Act17 was passed and jointness thrust forcibly on the services. But where are the Indian Goldwaters and Nicholses?

The country needs a joint tri-service national security strategy, a requirement that the integrated staff realized and accepts. To write the strategy, a strategic background has to be first written. This has been done. However, the National Security Strategy is currently being attempted by a number of Track two outfits in Delhi, with varying degree of success. In the nuclear arena, the problem is unambiguous and there should be no serious dissension. China has a strategy of tying India down south of the Himalayas, using Pakistan as a proxy. Therefore, unless India acts with determination and urgency, we could end up with a nuclear arms race, the outlines of which are already discernible. The latest act of perfidy and duplicity is in arming Pakistan
with a cruise missile (Babur) with a strategic capability (range of 1,000 km), unlike the Brahmos. The Babur harkens back to the Chinese Hong-Niao, which goes back to the Ukranian AS-15/kh-54 which goes back to the American Tomahawk. The Babur will inevitably form the backbone of a first-strike capability, with the Chinese factory made
Shaheen II as the long range first strike. The Shaheen I will probably be relegated to a second strike role. China’s nuclear strategy is therefore Paksitan’s nuclear strategy and we are the victims.

The Indian answer to this carefully crafted collusive strategy is yet to be worked out. The question is, who will do it? Without jointness, the Indian reply has so far been disjointed and haphazard. The earlier technological failings in the joint arena has manifested itself once again in partial acceptance of the Brahmos, a great technology feat, but utterly irrelevant to India’s strategic needs. The problem is really that there is no joint strategic input to the political leadership. This is a tragic case of national security mismanagement, and there will be a price to pay.


The IA, as the biggest service, turning its back on the CDS and jointness deals a fatal blow to an integrated national security strategy18. The matter must therefore, in the national interest, be taken to a higher level – a level above that of inter-service rivalries and squabbles. A good place to begin is where the Arun Singh Committee finished off. Another committee or commission headed by a national level thinker, like K. Subrahmanyam or Arun Singh, or Naresh Chandra needs to be appointed to look into creating the mechanisms for evolving joint national security strategies using the existing framework. This committee, should preferably have Parliament’s or the Parliamentary Committee on Defence’s backing and support. It should be tasked to look into creating the mechanisms that will pull the services together, institute a strong supportive HRD process to kill single service domination, and identify the accountability for crafting all levels of strategy._

  • 1. There is no open literature on these bureaucratic skirmishes but those posted in services headquarters in Delhi would be more than aware of the history of this internal conflict
  • 2. For a detailed account of the Indian recapture of Srinagar and the Valley, see Operations in Jammu and Kashmir 1947-48, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Thomson Press (India) Ltd., New Delhi 1987, as also Maj. Gen. L.P. Sen, Slender was the Thread, (New Delhi, Orient Longmans). For a record of the Tangail paradrop see General J.F.R. Jacob,surrender at dhaka,Maohar Publishers and Distributers limited,new delhi,1997,pp.125-127
  • 3. . For a history of the earlier Rana revolt, see Werner Levi, Government and Politics in Nepal, Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 21, No. 18 (17 Dec 1952). For a readable record of the run up to the disastrous Chinese war, read Maj. Gen. D. K. Palit, War in the High Himalayas (London: St. Martin’s Press and C-Jurst & Co, New York & London).
  • 4. The UK’s organization, suited to a Parliamentary form of government is contained in the MoD homepage at
  • 5. Depinder Singh, Indian Peacekeeping Force in Sri Lanka, 1987-89 (Natraj – Dehra Dun).
  • 6. Author’s ownexperiences as the Assistant of Chief of Naval Operations in Naval Headquarters, 1991-93. On one occasion, intelligence passed by the Navy to RAW came back to Navy, a week later as original RAW intelligence.
  • 7. Lecture by General (later Field Marshal) Manekshaw at the DSSC, Wellington, Summer 1989.
  • 8. Soldiers and Statesmen 1914-1918. v.2, Robertson, William, Bart, William London: Cassell, 1926, ix, 327p
  • 9. Bisheshwar Prasad (Ed.), The Reconquest of Burma; Vol-1 (Official history of the Indian Forces in the Second World War 1939-45) Official History. Combined Inter Services Historical Section, India and Pakistan, 1958.
  • 10. A volumetric calculation and hence the size of the Prithvi, compared to the range it achieves places it at near or at the bottom of the surface-to-surface missiles of the world. The large size relative to the range forces theuser to carry the extra weight and volume for the entire life of the missile.
  • 11. The author attended that meeting in 1993 as the representative of the NHQ and was appalled at the farce into which it degenerated into. The absence of any kind of a central NCP surfaced again during the Kandahar hijacking when the criminals managed to remain comfortably ahead of the Indian government.
  • 12. Since 2002, ad-hoc courses to armed forces officers have been given by USI of India, by the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi and the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi. The author conducted the first such course on behalf of the USI. No similar courses exist for the civilian bureaucracy.
  • 13. The services requirements of satellite communications are provided by the Army’s Signal Corps, which uses a civilian transponder suited to the footprint of civilian use. The Navy’s Blue water aspirations requires a much larger foot print and hence the Navy’s dedicated communications satellite is currently being built separately.
  • 14. Many analyses show that Pakistan’s strategic missile programme is running ahead of India’s and hence Pakistan nuclear arsenal may be at a higher level of maturity.
  • 15. . A The author offered to run a mathematically based analysis project for the old NSA for quantifiable problems like deterrence, but the offer was declined.
  • 16. There is little doubt that ‘we are getting there’, but in the absence of jointness there are no mechanisms or organisations to manage the new systems.
  • 17. Attempts to reorganize the US DOD through Congress resulted in Bills that were put up in 1982 and 1982, but were defeated. The reorganization attempt sponsored by Senators Goldwater and Nichols was passed in 1986. Further amendments to strengthen the position of the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff were made in 1987 and 1989. The final changes resulted in the promotion of all officers in the four services being subject to fulfilling criteria joint service appointments.
  • 18. . After having pushed the idea of a CDS for over two and a half decades, the Army Chief in 2006/07, turned his back on the idea, while the Navy chief was the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The Air Force held all along that ‘cooperation’ between the three services was adequate.
Military Strategy Exploiting The Electro-magnetic Spectrum In Jointmanship August 2007 S.R.R. Aiyengar


Military Operations are executed in an increasingly complex Electro- Magnetic (EM) environment. Electronic Warfare (EW) is a military capability that must be integrated into a given military operation as it supports all phases and aspects of the campaign. This is equally applicable in the planning and conduct of joint operations.Is has become the principal means waging and winning a war. The vast array of capabilities, skills, techniques and organizations of war is a recipe for chaos without thoughtful planning to assure interoperability, synchronizing and synergy. To retain the freedom of action required to apply maximum combat power at a chosen point in the battle it is vital that a Commander must be able influence the Electro Magnetic Spectrum (EMS). This influence either by dominance or control can only be achieved through holistic EMS planning in conjunction with commander’s operational plans.

The EMS is an inexhaustible national asset and it can be used without depletion, but it is limited in capacity. These principles equally apply in the conduct of Joint operations. A Joint force commander in the operational theatre plans and fights the campaign while component commanders exercise tactical control of land, sea and air forces. The integrated battle concept recognizes the symbiotic relationships of land, maritime and air forces and underscores the fact that no single service can win war by itself. Effective command and control of EW assets in Joint operations would comprise of direction at the highest level to achieve unity of purpose, combined with delegation of authority for achieving objectives to the lowest level appropriate for the most effective use of various assets available for the accomplishment of the mission. To fully comprehend the conduct of Joint EW operations in the Indian context, it is necessary to have a comprehensive overview of systems, procedures, and organizations in place as on date and identify future courses of action.


This study aims to analyse the current status of exploiting the EMS in jointmanship in the Indian context. After a brief overview of the concept of EW per-se and as a sub-set of Information Operations/Warfare (IO/ IW), the analysis examines the individual services EW perspectives. As the services provide most of India’s EW assets, a basic understanding of each service’s perspective would greatly facilitate the planning and
coordination of EW at the joint level. Thereafter, all the connected issues relevant to the planning, coordination and integration of EW for joint operations are looked at.

Doctrinal support for joint EW operations would be examined to highlight the training aspects as also the institutional support to be in place for an effective EW at all levels of operations to include strategic, operational and tactical keeping in mind the scope of joint operations in the Indian context. Management Challenges as also certain EW aspects very specific to the existing tri-service commands, i.e., Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), and Strategic Forces Command (SFC) as also the proposed Aerospace Command will be examined. These represent arenas for major joint operations in the future. The study will culminate with a few suggestions for necessary action and deliberation. Experiences/Lessons learnt from some of the joint operations conducted
by Indian Armed Forces in the past have also been incorporated. As always, in a study of such a nature, it is never the intent to restrict the judgment of a commander in executing the mission in a manner he deems most appropriate, but to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the overall mission of the joint operations.


EW aims at controlling the EMS by attacking an adversary’s ability to effectively use the spectrum, while protecting the friendly use of it. A thorough knowledge of the adversary’s use of the spectrum is required to effectively employ EW. It pervades all aspects of the modern battlefield and has the potential to have an impact on all elements of the Command and Control (C2) cycle. EW resources are used to monitor the adversary’s activities in the EMS, indicate adversary’s strength and dispositions, give warning of adversary’s intentions, deceive and disrupt sensors and C2 processes, and safeguard the friendly use of the EMS. The integrated use of EW throughout the battlefield supports the synergy needed to locate, identify, damage and destroy enemy forces and C2 structures.

The activities of EW are applicable across the whole spectrum of military operations and are not confined to warfare, conventional or otherwise. In peacetime, armies attempt to intercept, locate and identify the source of a potential adversary’s electronic emissions. Analysis may reveal details of capabilities as well as vulnerabilities that can be used to gain an advantage in times of conflict. Although EW is targeted against the technology, the ultimate effect is on the commander’s ability to move through the C2 cycle. The human element of the command system is both the strongest and weakest link, and can be fairly enshrouded in the fog of war if supporting communications and information systems are disrupted, degraded or deceived. EW often provides commanders with substantial capabilities to electronically influence and control the battlefield. EW is also an area of considerable innovation. Inevitably, and often very rapidly, advantages gained by technological or procedural changes are met with equally effective countermeasures.

EW is an overarching term that includes three distinct components namely:

  • Electronic Support Measures (ESM);
  • Electronic Counter Measures (ECM);
  • Electronic Counter Counter Measures (ECCM).

Electro-Optical (EO) systems are finding their way into nearly all military applications in the battlefield, such as day and night surveillance and observation, weapon targeting, fire control, tracking, ranging, missile guidance and communication. The side with capability to degrade the opponent’s EO systems will have the winning edge and this adds yet another dimension to EW — Electro Optical Counter Measures (EOCM). Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) are the weapons of the future. The EOCM mentioned earlier would fall in the in the ambit of’ ‘Low Power Lasers (LSL)’. ‘High Power Microwave (HPM)’ and ‘Charged Particle Beam (CPB)’ are presently in the advanced stages of application research.


EW is an important part of Information Operations(IO). Information Warfare (IW) is IO conducted during the time of crisis or conflict. EM energy is the means by which modern information systems process and store information. EM energy is also used for sensing, measuring, analyzing, and communicating information. This dependence on EM energy
and use of the EMS by the systems that sense, process, store, measure, analyze, and communicate information create IO/IW opportunities and vulnerabilities that EW can address. ECM tactics, techniques and procedures from a variety of EW platforms can offer a range of lethal and non-lethal options to affect adversary information and information systems. ECCM tactics, techniques, and procedures are essential to
protecting friendly information and information systems. ESM is a primary means for gathering information during joint operations.

All EW activities conducted as part of or in support of joint operations should be coordinated through the IO/IW cell of the joint staff in order to realize the potential synergistic benefit of synchronizing the efforts of all the capabilities and related activities of IO/IW in a coordinated manner (see Figure 1). Specific activities and concerns that must be coordinated across IO elements and activities include Psychological Operations(PSYOP), Operations Security (OPSEC), military deception, physical destruction and computer network warfare. The deconfliction and coordination of EW activities in an operation is a continuous process for the IO/IW cell and EW staff personnel.

Figure 1. Information Operations and Related Activities Source:Joint pub 3-13--Joint Doctrine for Information Operations


Planning and execution of Joint EW is affected by the different viewpoints on EW held by the three Services. Although formal definitions are standardized, different operational environments and tactical objectives lead to variations in perspective among the three services.

Indian Army: The focus of Indian Army(IA) EW operations is based on the need to synchronize lethal and non-lethal attacks against adversary Command,Control and Communications(C3) targets. Army EW systems disrupts,delays, diverts, and denies the adversary while protecting friendly use of communications and non-communications systems. The perspective of Army is directly associated with the combined arms structure of adversarial forces and the manner in which both friendly and adversary combatants conduct combat operations. The high mobility of opposing combat forces and the speed, range, precision accuracy, and lethality of their weapons systems place stringent demands on the C2 systems of both friendly and adversary ground force commanders. Organic EW resources available to support IA operations are limited.
Mission requirements usually exceed operational capability.

Cross-service EW support, synchronized with Army combat operations, is essential to the success of joint military operations. Joint planning and continuous, effective coordination are critical to synchronizing joint EW capabilities and generating joint combat power at the critical time and place in battle. The Army has its dedicated EW systems to support Low Intensity Conflicts Operations (LICO) or when engaged in Counter–Insurgency (CI) operations. An integrated EW system for exclusive employment in mountains is also under active consideration.

Indian Navy: Naval task forces use all aspects of maritime environment and EW in performing their naval warfare tasks. Emphasis is given to surveillance, the neutralization or destruction of adversary targets, and the enhancement of friendly force battle management through the integrated employment and exploitation of the EMS. Naval battle groups employ a variety of organic ship borne EW systems, primarily for self protection. Naval aviation forces with dedicated EW systems on board (if and when made available) are the primary means by which naval forces take the EW fights to the adversary at extended ranges. Naval task force use of the EMS encompasses measures that are employed to:

  • Coordinate, correlate, fuse, and employ aggregate communication, surveillance, reconnaissance, data correlation, classification, targeting, and EM attack capabilities;
  • Deny, deceive, disrupt, destroy, or exploit the adversary’s capability to communicate, monitor, reconnoiter, classify, target, and attack;
  • Facilitate anti-ship missile defense; and
  • Direct and control employment of friendly forces.

Indian Air Force: The Indian Air Force (IAF) conducts a variety of EW operations, including ECM, ECCM, and ESM. In addition, EW supports Suppression of Air Defences (SEAD) and IO. The object of these operations is to increase aircraft survivability, enhance the effectiveness of military operations, and increase the probability of mission success. The IAF’s EW system development and deployment focus on this task. The Air Force uses an integrated mix of disruptive and destructive EW systems to defeat hostile integrated air defenses. Disruptive EW systems, (e.g., self-protection jamming) provide an immediate but temporary solution. Destructive systems provide a more permanent solution, but may take longer to fully achieve the desired results. The integrated use of destructive and disruptive systems offsets their individual disadvantages and results in a synergistic effect. Successful EW operations emphasize risk reduction while still maintaining mission effectiveness. The military significance of EW is directly related to the increase in mission effectiveness and to the reduction of risk associated with attaining air superiority. The Air Force employs a variety of ground, air based assets to accomplish these tasks. Space based assets when made available can further these efforts.


EW is a complex aspect of modern military operations that must be fully integrated with other aspects of joint operations. This is necessary if one is to achieve EW’s full potential for contributing to an operation’s objectives. Such integration requires careful planning. EW planners must be concerned with coordinating their planned activities with other aspects of military operations which use the EMS as well as third party users of the spectrum that EW does not wish to disrupt. Coordination of military use of the spectrum is largely a matter of coordinating with other staff functions as well as the other elements of IO, such as ‘Psychological Operations’ (PSYOPS) planners and components which rely on the EMS to accomplish their mission. Coordination of EW activities in the context of third party use of the EMS is largely a matter of spectrum management and adherence to established frequency usage regimens and protocols.

Like other aspects of joint operations, joint EW is centrally planned and decentrally executed. Since the Armed Forces provide most of the country’s EW assets available in joint operations, Service component EW planners must be integrated into the joint planning process. The role of EW in Joint operations must be viewed in the larger context of ‘Command and Control Warfare (C2W).

C2W is the approach to military operations which employs all measures (including but not limited to Operations Security, Military Deception, Psychological Warfare, EW and Physical Destruction), in a deliberate manner, mutually supported by intelligence and information systems, to disrupt, or inhibit an adversary’s ability to command and control his forces while protecting and enhancing our own. These five elements must be used in varying degrees and the critical aspect of C2W is the synergism gained by planning and conducting all the five elements in a coordinated manner. Traditionally the planning responsibilities for these elements have resided in separate elements of any eadquarter.

There is now a need to make them function under a single entity namely the Joint EW Control Centre (JEWCC) to be set up in each Joint Headquarters as part of the ‘Operations and Planning’ branch of the controlling headquarters. In this way, each of the five elements is employed to accomplish its intended mission without adversely affecting any other contributing component. Once the Joint EW plan has been formulated, EW planners must monitor its execution and be prepared to carry out any modification to the original plan as the dynamics of the operation plan dictates. A suggested charter of responsibilities of the proposed JEWCC is attached at Appendix ‘A’.

EMS Management: Since EW activity takes place in the EMS, joint EW planners must closely coordinate their efforts with those members of the joint staff who are concerned with managing military use of the EMS. Joint EW planners should establish and maintain a close working relationship with the frequency management personnel. An integrated set up called the Joint Frequency Management Centre (JFMC) is a necessity for identifying the requirements for friendly communication nets, EM navigation systems, and radar. These requirements should be considered with respect to anticipated operations, tactical threat expected, and EM interference considerations. Once identified, these should be compiled as ‘Joint Restricted Frequency List (JRFL) under appropriate categories like ‘Prohibited/Taboo/Guarded’ functions, nets and frequencies.
JFRL is a critical management tool in the effective use of EMS during military operations.

A JFMC must be established at each of the Corps and Joint Headquarters (when established) whose responsibility is to prepare the JFRL and assist the EW staff in the planning process of EW operations being conducted jointly or by earmarked service EW assets. Automated frequency management tools can be a great help. Assessment of EM
environment (EME) conducted during the planning phase constitutes a best guess based on information available at that time. Following deployment and buildup, and during the actual employment of the joint force, the operational area EMS will create a new, and somewhat different, set of parameters. Further, this environment will constantly change as forces redeploy and as C2, surveillance, weapons systems, and other spectrum-use applications realign. Since EW is concerned with disruption (ECM), protection (ECCM), and monitoring (ESM) of the EMS, EW staff personnel have a major role to perform in the dynamic management of the spectrum during operations. A comprehensive and well thought out JRFL and ‘Emission Control (EMCON) plan are normally the two tools that permit flexibility of EW actions during an operation without compromising friendly use of the EMS. EMCON is the selective and controlled use of EM, Acoustic or other emitters to optimize C2 capabilities while minimizing operational security viz. detection by enemy sensors minimize mutual interference among friendly systems and/or execute military deception plan. A suggested charter of responsibilities to be assigned to the proposed JFMC is at Appendix ‘B’ attached.


Principles that guide the conduct of EW operations in individual services would continue to remain valid and continue to guide the conduct of EW in joint operations. However, the importance of planning and coordination of EW, dictates that the planning for such operations at the joint level must flow from the highest coordinating headquarters to avoid any duplication of effort.

The release of India’s first Joint Doctrine on May 2006 marks a major step towards military integration and interoperability among the three services. Intended to complement existing individual service doctrines, the Joint Doctrine outlines the guiding principles for future joint operations by synergizing their operational capabilities. The new doctrine purportedly exhorts the services on the need for joint planning and resource sharing.

A beginning has also been made in the jointness in IW by the issue of a Joint doctrine on IW. However both these doctrines are classified documents and hence a critical appraisal cannot be made though it is believed that these are only of generic nature and do not address many existing inter-service doctrinal disconnects. A joint EW doctrine is essential for success because organizational synergies to be gained from joint efforts are as important as new military technologies which we may use for future operations. A well conceived and articulated doctrine reflects the collective will and intent and being a shared view ensures the much needed unity of effort. Acting as a guide it would need judgment in its application. Its value will lie in it being relevant, achievable, acceptable and adaptable. While evolving such a doctrine it has to be seen that it dovetails in the overall concepts of joint operations. A joint EW doctrine does not imply that it is advocating a separate phase of war but it is a strategy that would merge into the overall concept of joint operations. A joint EW doctrine would ensure a more focused effort towards a unified purpose by a set of inherently inter-operable and synergistic joint capabilities. Such a doctrine would further the much needed ‘joint mind-set’ from the highest level of planning to the lowest tactical level.


Interoperability is essential in order to use EW effectively as an element of joint military power. Increased interoperability is a key prerequisite for enhancing jointness. The major requirements of interoperability are:

  • To establish standards and practice procedures that allow for integrated planning and execution of EW operations (including joint EW); and
  • To exchange EW information in a timely and routine fashion.

This exchange may be conducted in either non-real time or in near real time via common, secure, jam-resistant radios and data links. The ability to exchange near real time data (such as targeting information) enhances situational awareness and combat coordination between various force elements, including EW assets, is a critical combat requirement. This exchange of data relates to ESM, ECM, and ECCM, including friendly
and adversary forces data. Routine exchange of data among joint force components, the joint force and supporting commands and organizations greatly facilitates all types of EW planning.

It is suggested that at the Headquaters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS), a separate functional entity be set-up to initiate and oversee joint interoperability and integration initiatives and to suggest material and non-materiel solutions to interoperability challenges. This can be best done by working closely with the three services, DRDO and other government/public/private production agencies. This special entity could enlarge its scope of jurisdiction to include Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I) and other combat support systems thereby increasing combat effectiveness through interoperability.


Automated EW databases can assist EW planners by providing easy access to a wide variety of platform-specific technical data used in assessing the EW threat and planning appropriate friendly responses to that threat. However, planners should keep several considerations in mind when relying on automated data. There are a large number of databases available to military planners. Some of these databases are maintained by the Services, others by various intelligence community agencies or other Ministry of Defence (MOD) organizations, and allied organizations. Still other databases may be maintained by academic or private (profit or non-profit) organizations. “Threat” data is compiled by intelligence organizations. Compilation of accurate technical data in one
place is a lucrative target for hostile intelligence collection. For this reason, access to friendly forces data must be highly restricted and harder for planners to obtain than threat data which can be accessed through normal intelligence channels. The level of detail, specific fields, and frequency of update may vary widely across different databases dealing with the same data. The way that data is organized into fields in a database and the level of detail are functions of what the data is used for and the cost associated with compiling and maintaining each database.

The sources of data being used for planning should be a topic of coordination among EW planners. If necessary, joint planners should provide guidance about what sources of automated data should be used for specific EW planning purposes. Planners should request that organizations that maintain important sources of EW data update their
databases (or specific parts of them) more frequently than normal when planning specific operations. Planners should be cautioned about using unofficial sources of data, especially those available through the Internet which may be subject to manipulation by organizations hostile to national policies and objectives. However, open source intelligence remains a viable and important source of valuable information. Continuous maintenance of data bases during peacetime permits rapid identification of voids, which then becomes the priority areas during a crisis. Two technologies have been central in improving the qualitative and quantitative value of the knowledge available to decision makers: Data mining techniques and Knowledge management technologies. Adoption of these techniques and technologies will help in taking advantage of all available information both internal and external to the EW systems.


The practical meaning of jointness is derived essentially from promoting joint exercises, and will emerge as operational forces work out the myriad aspects of what joint operations entail. Joint exercises are a unique opportunity to exercise component EW capabilities in mutually supportive operations. Identification EW exercise objectives must be consistent with the overall exercise objectives in scope, purpose, and the level of effort. Such exercises must ensure that the development of EW concept of operations is integrated into the larger concept of IO/IW. Missions, organizational procedures, structures and coordination channels must be designed and tried out to meet war time requirements. While conducting joint exercise(s), it is expected that each service would share their experience and problems faced so that weaknesses can be addressed jointly if need be. Also the strengths of each can be optimized to its maximum effect especially if there are voids in a particular field or application. Peacetime training and operations stress the development of procedures for employment during war.

For training purposes the EW environment in an exercise should be as realistic as possible. However, the need for realism to support training must be weighed against the concern for safety and avoiding disruption of the EM spectrum used by third parties, both civilian and military, outside the scope of the exercise. When planning joint exercises with foreign armed forces, we need to address difficulties that may crop up because of ill-defined security issues, different crypto equipment, differences in the level of training of involved forces and language barriers. We also need to develop a clear and easily understood policy on the disclosure of EW information.

Many important technologies in the area of networking, simulation, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence have moved from behind the walls of military secrecy into the commercial sector. There is an urgent need to develop a “Joint Electronic Combat EW Simulator” to depict force– on force simulations. Such an initiative would provide enhanced capability to train battle staffs in the planning, execution and evaluation of EW for a wide range of battlefield scenarios. This will also ensure avoiding excessive wear and tear of operationally deployed EW assets. There are also several automated aids and software tools available for war gaming and other allied planning processes. Use of automated tools to integrate different elements of IO/IW would also very useful to EW planning staff. The variables that affect the propagation of EM energy are known and subject to mathematical predictability. The use of automated analysis tools that graphically display transmission paths of such energy can be a useful aid in EW planning.


Reliable, effective and affordable equipment that exploits high technology is essential to provide the battle winning edge. Long term development period of much modern EW equipment require the decision of procurement based on an informed assessment of how the EW threat scenarios likely to emerge over the next ten to twenty years. However this is notoriously difficult to predict. This necessitates procurement priority to be given to systems, which have the inherent flexibility, or can be easily modified or
adapted to the changing circ*mstances. It is hence important to identify those critical disruptive technologies which are likely to have a major influence on EW capability. It is an acknowledged fact that the present pace of development and productionisation of indigenous EW systems hardly inspires the users. The inordinate delay and huge cost and time overruns are a cause of concern.

There is a need for the apex decision making body of the nation to ensure that EW equipment procurement program integrate the needs of the timely introduction of replacement items, funded and managed on whole life basis with due allowance for planned updates during their life time. Ensuring commonalty of equipment where feasible will not only reduce costs but also ensure greater degree of inter-operability leading to better coordination. Robustness and innate capabilities of domestic defence industries making strategic electronic equipment or under license arrangements is vital. Critical voids need to be made up by procuring minimum operationally inescapable EW assets ex import if need be on priority. Budgetry support for such acquisitions must be ensured. HQ, Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) could prioritize such acquisitions. As EW is technology intensive and thus expensive, there is a case for coordinating the procurement of EW equipment as well as standardization. Certain features like interception of High Frequency signals and Radar surveillance could also be coordinated between the three services. There is also scope for identifying spares of indigenous variety meeting all the essential technical specifications to replace items bought ex import. The present practice of buying ‘two years and five years’ spares along with the imported main systems needs a relook, especially when indigenous near equivalents are available.


National Information Board (NIB) : The Kargil conflict led to a very comprehensive review of our security apparatus and higher defence management. On recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee, the Prime Minister appointed a Group of Ministers (GoM) to examine the national security system and to make appropriate recommendations. Among the many recommendations made by the GoM, setting up of a ‘National Information Board (NIB)’ was recommended. The NIB was approved by the Prime Minister in May 2002. The National Security Adviser (NSA) was to be the Chairman of NIB with the Cabinet Secretary, the three Service chiefs, Secretaries of all important ministries and heads of intelligence and research organizations co-opted as members. The main charter of such an apex organization would obviously be to develop policies and ensure its implementation by creation of appropriate institutions dealing with IW and Information Security. In doing so, NIB would ensure that the country develops a holistic approach in developing specific IW capabilities.

While the deliberations of NIB would be classified, it is hoped that this body meets regularly and monitors the progress on acquisition of the requisite IW capability keeping in mind the threat posed by our adversaries in the near and long terms. It is a sad commentary that while we are good at setting up such bodies, the follow-up and periodic meetings of such organizations are very unsatisfactory. In addition to the setting up of NIB, it is felt that there is a need for a full time working group on this issue. This group should be well represented by Services, DRDO, academicians, and experts, from legal, finance, industry and other sectors. This group would give inputs, which can supplement requirements and inputs given by Service headquarters. This group must be able to contribute to synergize the efforts at the national level. This group could be named as ‘Information Warfare Advisory Group (IWAG).

Based on the national perspective plans, defence services should formulate a five year action plan including setting-up of appropriate institutional structures. Joint perspectives must be borne in mind while formulating service specific plans. To coordinate such efforts at the joint services level, it is recommended that a “Defence Information Operations Agency (DIOA)” be established at the HQ, IDS. As scope of IO extends across a time continuum from ‘Peace, Crisis, Conflict and Return to Peace’, DIOA could oversee all the related capabilities which includes, Computer Network attack, Deception, Destruction, EW, OPSEC, PSYOPS and related activities of Public affairs and Civil affairs. Such a set-up would help in understanding the environment, assess its interests and the adversary’s pressure points and then use whichever capability or related activity that will best affect the adversary. A suggested organization of DIOA is at Appendix ‘C’.

Joint Electronic Warfare Board (JEWB): Good precedence exists in that we already have a single point joint forum within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) with a charter to synergize the efforts of the three services in enhancing the Jointmanship in Electronic Warfare field, besides monitoring the EW projects implementation of the three services. It is presently chaired by Chief of Integrated Staff to Chairman Chief of Staff Committee (CISC) with members drawn from all the three services as also representatives from all concerned Production agencies and Defence research establishments. Over the years this forum has been actively utilized by the Services, industry’s representatives and DRDO to project their views on matters pertaining to production and fielding of EW systems. With no executive authority and financial powers, JEWB is often relegated
to an advisory and status monitoring roles only. While the issue of the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) continues to be wide open, the Services need to re-engineer themselves to fit into a mould of jointness to make the JEWB to play a more pro-active role. Some areas of concern that needs immediate attention include:

  • Fielding of Integrated Non-Communications EW systems for the Indian Army.
  • Dedicated EW systems for LICO in both Northern and North- Eastern sectors.
  • Elevated EW platforms for enhanced range and area coverage.
  • Track based EW platforms to support to fast moving and highly mobile mechanized forces.
  • Development of Directed Energy (DE) weapons system to damage or destroy adversary equipment, facilities and personnel by a beam of concentrated EM energy or atomic or subatomic particles. Possible applications include lasers, radio frequency
    weapons and particle beam weapons.
  • Satellite Communications and Cellular Communications monitoring systems at the field level.
  • Acquisitions of systems to take on enhanced frequency coverage, use of ‘frequency hopping’ ‘communication equipments, induction of ‘Software Defined Radio’ sets and growing sophistication of anti-jam propagation techniques.
  • Qualitative technological improvement of Direction Finding (DF) sub-systems to achieve greater accuracy and flexibility in its deployment.
  • With increasing use of secrecy devices as also use of ‘frequency hopping sets’, detection and interception of signals/messages have become more challenging. Technology forecasting must be an ongoing exercise in the design and configuration of EW systems, integrated or discrete.

Joint Services EW Group for ANC

Flowing from the Task Force recommendations, ANC was established in 2001 as part of a larger plan to enhance inter-service integration and promote ‘jointmanship’. ANC has no dedicated EW set-up in its ORBAT, as on date. It is for consideration that a dedicated ‘Joint Services EW Group’ be raised to provide the EW support to ANC for its strategic and operational missions. This would form the basis for other such integrated commands that may be set up later. In carrying out their assigned tasks, their responsibilities would include some of the following;

  • Coordinate EW operations with other strategic/operational/tactical operations.
  • Joint EW planning efforts and preparation EW appendices to Operation plans.
  • Supervise the implementation of EW policies and instructions within the ANC Commander’s operational area and supervising the adaptation of those plans to meet operational contingencies.
  • Preparation of the JFRL for specific operations and exercises within the operational area.
  • Monitor the number, type and status of EW assets within the operational area or involved in specific operations or exercises.
  • Supervising the analysis of EW plans and activities during operations and exercises within the operational in order to derive lessons learned.

The exact composition and structure of the proposed Joint Services EW Group could be worked out by a team of EW experts from each Service and the Coast Guard and based on the availability of EW assets and participating force levels. In fact this exercise could be a good test bed for future guidance as and when more Unified Theatre Commands
are raised from within the existing resources.


This is a weak area which needs to be tackled on a priority. Both operations, namely Pawan (in Sri Lanka) and Vijay (Kargil) highlighted the reality that the MOD/Service HQ needs a significantly improved organic capability in languages and dialects of our neighbourhood region and a greater competence and regional area skills, especially in view of the ‘out-of-area’ contingencies. MOD needs to evolve a comprehensive road
map to achieve this competency and keeping in mind a surge capacity to rapidly expand this capability at short notice.


Space is inexorably becoming the new high ground and Star Wars are no longer in the realm of science fiction. Physical destruction, laser blinding and electronic warfare are all likely to be employed to deny the enemy the use of his satellites and to safeguard the use of one’s own satellites for their force multiplier value. India is on the threshold of entering a new era in space exploitation. There is a need to deliberate on how best the space assets could be integrated into our military operations. To this end it is learnt that the IAF has established a Space sub–branch at Air Headquarters. It has also recommended the setting up of an “Independent Aerospace Group” to liase with the Department of Space as the next ‘logical step’. On the sidelines of an international seminar on Aerospace the former Air Chief, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi went on to say that the Government is seriously considering the creation of a tri-service Aerospace Command. The Defence Space Vision --2020 which outlines the road map for the Armed forces in the realm of space includes intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and navigation as the thrust areas in its first phase (2007-2012).

The ability to restrict or deny freedom of access to and operations in space is no longer limited to global military powers. Knowledge of space systems and the means to counter them is increasingly available on the international market. Nations if they wish can possess or acquire the means to disrupt or destroy an adversary’s space systems by attacking the satellites in space, their communication nodes on the ground and in space, or ground nodes that command the satellites. The reality is that there are many extant capabilities, such as Anti-Satellite Weapons, Denial and Deception measures, Jamming, use of micro satellites, hacking and nuclear detonation that can deny, disrupt or physically destroy space systems and the ground facilties that use and control them.

More and sophisticated technologies for jamming satellite signals are becoming available. For example, it is learnt that Russia is marketing a handheld GPS jamming system. A one watt version of such a system, the size of a cigarette pack is able to deny access to GPS out to 80km; a slightly larger version can deny access up to 192 km. Both are compact and powerful enough to jam an aircraft’s GPS receiver signal, which could disrupt military missions or create havoc at an airport. Such indicators of the potency of EW needs to be taken cognizance of and appropriate defensive steps initiated.


India maintains a “no-first-use” “minimum nuclear deterrent,” nuclear policy in the event of war as enunciated in its Nuclear Doctrine, released in 1999. India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) was formally established in 2003. The joint services SFC is the custodian of all of India’s nuclear weapons, missiles and assets. It is also responsible for executing all aspects of India’s nuclear policy. However, the civil leadership, in the form of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is the only body authorized to order a nuclear strike against another offending strike. In effect, it is the Prime Minister who has his finger “on the button”.

A Nuclear Weapon State (NWS) would normally need to have the following nuclear weapons infrastructure in place to ensure that it has a functionally effective nuclear force to meet its national security objectives:

  • Research and development laboratories and testing facilities, including for computer simulation-based testing.
  • Weapons manufacturing complex to produce fissionable material for warheads and to manufacture nuclear warheads.
  • The nuclear arsenal, which would include ready warheads and the delivery systems necessary for delivering them on the selected targets—SSMs, ICBMs, IRBMs, fighter-bomber aircraft and SLBMs—and the base required for the storage and maintenance
    of nuclear weapons, along with the training and supply of nuclear forces.
  • An integrated satellite, aerial and ground-based surveillance system to provide information and intelligence about the activities of inimical countries and to gather data for ‘targeting’.
  • An early warning and attack assessment system of radars, other sensors and processing stations to detect and provide inputs of warning and categorize attacks.
  • A C2 structure to analyze data, make decisions, plan, direct and control the targeting and employment of nuclear weapons, should it ever become necessary.
  • A fail-safe communication system with built-in redundancy to link the surveillance, early warning and command and control systems with the nuclear forces so as to distribute warning data and ensure the timely passage of execution commands.
  • And, a well-conceived and rehearsed civil-defence system to minimize damage, treat casualties and to assist the civil population to recover from the ravages of nuclear explosions.

It is obvious that effective C2 of nuclear forces cannot be organized without appropriate communications, credible intelligence capabilities, survivable surveillance and reconnaissance means and computer networks to process the voluminous inputs and present suitable options for targeting and attack. In short, what is now called a C4SR system. Such systems would require a sound ECCM in place to ensure that the response that is visualized is executed with certainty and speed. The EW support must ensure that a viable C2 system fulfilling the following conditions exist:-

  • It should be able to absorb a first strike and continue to function effectively.
  • It should have real-time reconnaissance capability for the National Command Authority (NCA) to assess the damage sustained, take stock of nuclear forces still available and their deployment areas to assist in the formulation of a plan of retaliation.
  • It should have adequate computer processing facilities to permit rapid re-targeting of missiles and other nuclear forces prior to launch.
  • There should be continuous, fail-safe two-way communications between the NCA and the nuclear forces for an appropriate response.
  • And, a channel of communication with the adversary must remain available to permit negotiations for escalation control and conflict termination. (Strategic Analysis- IDSA, January 2000, Vol. XXIII, no. 10).


The current ‘Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is based around the proliferation of information aids, electronic target acquisitions, and rapid decision-making to seize fleeting opportunities in the battlefield. Without doubt, the current RMA is one of information: what is it, who has it and how it is transmitted?

IW will dominate 21st century conflict. Those, whose detection instruments sequentially gather, interpret and disseminate faster than their opponents will make the most appropriate decisions and therefore execute the most effective operation. It is likely that the operational environment will be characterized by greater lethality, dispersion,
increased volume and precision of fire. Better integrative technology leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness will be another feature of modern warfare. One will also witness a paradox of greater invisibility and increased delectability. Such a battlefield scenario will call for joint application of force and fighting as an integrated whole.

It also follows that future battlefields will be shaped by the deliberate targeting of an adversary’s C2 systems, thereby limiting his capability for re-organization, redeployment and logistic reinforcement. The ability for the commander to ‘see’ the adversary’s organization and interpret its moves provides him with the opportunity to attack in such a manner that he can destroy the adversary’s ability to reorganize his combat power. The US experience in the recent Gulf wars highlighted the worth of this type of targeting; within hours of the ‘air war’ commencing, the Iraqi C2 system was significantly degraded.

However, friendly C3 systems, data networks and communication nodes will be increasingly threatened by an array of ‘technology based, EW ‘soft-kill’ systems focusing on the selective destruction of these assets. It is imperative that the commander implements a structured, deliberate procedure to ensure that his decision process and tools are protected. To achieve this level of security to our own assets and threat to the adversary, the EW capability of the deployed force must be organic the organization. Such an arrangement will offer the commander a heightened degree of accurate and timely target detection, identification and response. A holistic approach to EMS management is vital to ensure unity of effort and efficiency of provision of the spectrum so as to maximize available combat power and retain the freedom of action on
the battlefield.

The integration required for successful application of EW in joint operations means that planning must be conducted at the highest level. A dedicated organization for this purpose is a must at the Joint Force Headquarters wherein EW operations are dovetailed into the operations plan. Planning and conduct of Joint EW operations must be conducted based a sound EW joint doctrine in accordance with advances in technology and place the personnel with the most responsibility for the conduct of EW at the forefront of the planning process. Dedicated staff of EW set-up must ensure that EW planning start in the early stages of Joint operations planning and are coordinated with other aspects of operations plan every step of the way. Planning guidance for EW should be included in an operations plan. The review of lessons learned from previous, similar joint operations, exercises is an important and cost effective way to avoid documented mistakes committed earlier. Effective EW starts with well trained and qualified people and sound guiding doctrine backed by well established and practiced procedures.


  1. ‘From Surprise to Reckoning,’ Kargil Review Committee, SAGE Publications, 2000.
  2. Major General Yashwant Deva, Sky is the Limit—Signals in Operation Pawan, Chapter 17, ‘War of Frequencies’, pp. 197-212.v
  3. General V. P. Malik, From Surprise to Victory, Harper Collins, 2006.
  4. Lt Gen Depinder Singh, IPKF in SRI LANKA, Trishul Publications.
  5. Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, Aerospace Power and India’s Defence, Knowledge World, India.
  6. Joint Publication 3-13, “Joint Doctrine for Information Operations”, October 9, 1998, United States of America.
  7. Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘Command and Control of Nuclear Weapons in India’, Strategic Analysis, January 2000.

Appendix ‘A’



  1. Coordination with tactical operations and other members of the Operations and Planning Staff.
  2. Drafting and Supervision of the implementation of EW policies and instructions within the commander’s operational area.
  3. Serve as the command’s principal delegate to EW planning and coordination meetings within the operational area.
  4. Supervision of EW planning efforts and the preparation of EW appendices to operation plans.
  5. Coordination of the planning for and preparation of EW in joint exercises within the commander’s operational area.
  6. Monitor the number, type, and status of EW assets within the operational area or involved in specific operations or exercises.
  7. Represent EW interests in the preparation of the JRFL for specific operations and exercises within the operational area.
  8. Monitor the execution of the EW plans in current operations and exercises within the operational area and supervising the adaptation of those plans to meet operational contingencies.
  9. Coordinate and supervising the analysis of EW plans and activities during operations and exercises within the operational area in order to derive lessons learned.
  10. Supervise the preparation and submission of EW lessons learned in accordance with After-action reports.

Appendix ‘B’



  1. Develop and distribute spectrum use plans that include frequency re-use and sharing schemes for specific frequency bands as appropriate.
  2. Periodically update and distribute JFRL as necessitated by changes in operation plans/tasking and phases of operations. Exploiting the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum in Jointmanship Journal of Defence Studies • Volume 1 No. 1 65
  3. Provide administrative and technical support for military spectrum use.
  4. Exercise frequency allotment and assignment authority allowing maximum latitude and flexibility in support of combat operations.
  5. Establish and maintain common data base necessary for planning, coordinating and controlling spectrum use. This data base should contain spectrum use information on all emitters and receivers, military, civil available as appropriate for the area of responsibility involved.
  6. Analyze and evaluate potential spectrum –use conflicts.
  7. Receive, report on, analyze and attempt to resolve incidents of unacceptable electro-magnetic interference and refer incidents that cannot be resolved to the next higher spectrum management authority.

Appendix ‘C’




Establishment of a Joint EW Control Centre (JEWCC): (para 12). Like other aspects of joint operations, joint EW planning necessitates the setting up of a JEWCC.Such an entity will ensure that EW planning starts in the early stages of operational planning and coordinated with all aspects of operational planning in every step of the way. Suggested charter of responsibilities of JEWCC is at Appendix A.

Setting up of Joint Frequency Management Centre (JFMC): (Para 13).
Most of the elements and activities of IO depend on, use or exploit the EMS for at least some of their functions. The deconfliction and coordination of EW activities is a continuous process and is best performed by the proposed JFMC. Suggested charter of responsibilities is at Appendix B.

Compilation of Joint Restricted Frequency List(JRFL): (Para 13). The preparation of JFRL-a time and geographically oriented list of frequencies to include Protected/Guarded/Taboo functions, nets .and frequencies is an important prerequisite for the conduct of joint EW operations. JRFL is a critical management tool in the effective use of EMS during military operations. Care must be taken to ensure that it is
limited to minimum number of frequencies.

Formulation of EMCON plan: (Para 13). EMCON very briefly is the selective and controlled use of EM, Acoustic or other emitters to optimize C2 capabilities while minimizing operational security, viz., detection by enemy sensors minimize mutual interference among friendly systems and/or execute military deception plan.

Formulation of a ‘Joint EW Doctrine’: (Para 14). Doctrine is a codification of professional norms and practice. While some beginning has been made in the form of the issue of a ‘Joint IW doctrine’, it should logically lead to the next step of the formulation of a ‘Joint EW Doctrine’. Such a publication will ensure that all functional element of EW are guided in the support of joint operational objectives. A suggested scope of such a publication has also been indicated in the paper.

Interoperability issues: (Para 15). It is suggested that at the HQ, IDS, a separate functional entity be set-up to initiate and oversee joint interoperability and integration initiatives and to suggest materiel and non-materiel solutions to interoperability challenges. This can be best done by working closely with the three services, DRDO and other government/public/private production agencies. This special entity could enlarge its scope of jurisdiction to include C3I and other combat support systems thereby increasing combat effectiveness through interoperability.

Maintenance of EW Data Bases: (Para 17). Automated Databases assist EW planners in providing an easy access to a wide variety of platform –centric technical data useful in assessing the EW threat and planning appropriate response to that threat.

EW in Joint Exercises. (Para 19). Joint exercises provide a unique opportunity to exercise component EW capabilities in mutually supportive operations.EW exercise activities must be well planned in order to balance EW training objectives with other training objectives. Because of the complexity of good EW planning and the impact that EW has on many other areas of joint operations, EW should be included in joint exercises. Post exercise and Evaluation prior to the conclusion of the exercise will
help in compiling and documenting lessons learned.

The Use of Simulators, Planning Process Aids and Graphic Analysis Tools: (Para 20 refers). Many important technologies in the area of networking, simulation, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence have moved from behind the walls of military secrecy into the commercial sector. There is an urgent need to develop a “Joint Electronic Combat EW Simulator” to depict force–on-force simulations. Distributed interactive simulation, and networked virtual reality features offer tremendous opportunities for EW planning in a network centric environment. Incorporation of models of EM propagation will serve as a useful guide in the graphic display of transmission paths of EM energy. Such aids combined with operational experience would result in greater refinement of the art and science of application of EW in the new emerging ways of warfare.

Development/Procurement of EW Equipment: (Para 21). Though some new initiatives have been set in motion in the recent past to streamline procurement procedures, the in-ordinate delays in the development of indigenous EW systems are a cause of concern.
Indigenous project “SAMYUKTA” is a case in point and could provide some useful lessons for the future. Critical voids that exist in our inventory need to be made-up, even if need be by importing systems. Budgetary support for such acquisitions must be assured. HQ IDS could prioritize such requirements. Technology forecasting must be an ongoing and concurrent activity in the design and configuration of future EW systems. Standardization and spares management would be a welcome step in enhancing Jointmanship.

Functioning of National Information Board (NIB): (Para 22). An apex organization NIB at the national level has been tasked to formulate National level IW policy in consonance with the overall national security perspective, direction, control and funding. It needs to be appreciated that the issues involved are of unprecedented complexities and interwoven dependence at the levels of individual functionaries, organizations at the political, economic and social domains, more often with tremendous clash of interests. Periodic monitoring of various institutions and dedicated establishments towards acquisition of requisite IW capabilities must be done. At the national level a ‘think tank’ in the form of an ‘Information Warfare Advisory Group (IWAG)’ has been suggested in the paper. Defence Services in turn should formulate long term plans to begin with a ‘five year’ plan along with appropriate institutional structures. Joint perspective must not be lost sight off. To coordinate such efforts in conjunction with DRDO, a dedicated agency to be called as ‘Defence Information Operations Agency (DIOA)’ has also been suggested. Its main task would be monitor and allocate resources to various institutions/specific IO capabilities being developed across the entire time continuum extending from peace to crisis to conflict and back to the restoration of peace. A suggested organization of DIOA is given at Appendix ‘C’.

12. Functioning of Joint Electronic Warfare Board(JEWB). (Paragraph 23 refers). This forum has been functioning for some years. Efforts must be made to make this forum to play a more pro-active role in giving an increased sense of urgency for timely execution of EW projects. Areas of concern requiring more focused attention have been identified in the study.

13. Fielding/Raising of a Dedicated Joint Services EW Group for the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC). (Paragraph 24 refers). There is an operational requirement to a have dedicated ‘Joint Services EW Group’ for the ANC in view of the strategic role(s) assigned to it. The exact composition and structure of the proposed EW Group can be
worked out by a study group comprising of members from all the three Services and Coast Guard and based on the availability of EW assets and the levels of participating forces. Such an initiative would also serve as a test bed for refining our doctrine/concepts of Joint EW operations. Suggested tasks that could be assigned to this EW group have also been stated.

14. Availability of Language Specialists/Translators and Interpreters. (Paragraph 26 refers). MOD needs to evolve a comprehensive road map to achieve adequacy and competency of personnel in languages and dialects of our neighborhood region especially Exploiting the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum in Jointmanship Journal of Defence Studies • Volume 1 No. 1 69 in view of the ‘out-of-area’ contingencies. We also need to keep in mind a surge capacity to rapidly expand this capability at short notice.

15. Institutional Support for Development of IW Expertise. (Paragraph 27 refers) An ‘Institute of Information Warfare (IIW)’ has been recommended to be set up either as an independent entity or to begin with an enlarged faculty at one of the existing premier training establishments under the proposed Indian National Defence University
(INDU), with experts drawn from the Services, DRDO scientists, IT professionals and experts from political, legal and financial fields. Combat specific institutional support should be extended from service specific/ joint training institutions.

16. EW support to SFC and Proposed Aerospace Command. (Paragraph 28-30 refers) These are emerging arenas for joint working in the future and would need some deliberation to identify dedicated EW support. Aspects which merit attention have been identified in the study._

Jointmanship And Attitudinal Issues August 2007 Mrinal Suman


Most leaders are professedly staunch proponents of the concept of jointmanship. They acknowledge the criticality of jointmanship to national security. In other words, jointmanship has no opponents. Yet, the reality on ground is diametrically opposite. Every step towards jointmanship is fought fiercely by many. This dichotomy, though perplexing, has been entirely due to incompatible attitudes. Attitude is an attribute of human behaviour and defies cogent reasoning.

This paper attempts to identify and analyze the underlying attitudinal reasons for dissonance and tardy implementation of jointmanship in the Indian Armed Forces, thereby imperiling national interests. Finally, major corrective steps have been recommended to manage attitudes and force the pace of reforms.

This paper is not about benefits that accrue from jointmanship in the armed forces. They are too well known to be recounted and reemphasised. For decades military strategists of all countries have been writing about the criticality of jointmanship. It is also undisputedly agreed that the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) precludes segregated service-wise operations. It is common knowledge that in contemporary RMA-oriented warfare, joint operations constitute the key to battlefield dominance and military superiority1. RMA pre-supposes total tri-service integration in thought and action.

Jointmanship means conducting integrated military operations with a common strategy, methodology and conduct2. A country is said to have attained jointmanship of its armed forces, if it institutionalises the following:

  • Joint planning, development of doctrine and policy-making.
  • Joint operational commands and staff structures.
  • Evolution of joint equipment policy and procurement organization.
  • Integrated preparation of budget and monitoring of expenditure – both capital and revenue.
  • Joint training.

According to the famous dictum of Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.” If that be so, there should never be any opposition to jointmanship, as all military leaders recognize that jointmanship is central to national security. True jointmanship entails assigning
supremacy to national interests, above every other consideration.

India fares dismally when judged against the standard parameters of jointmanship. It will not be incorrect to state that jointmanship in India is non-existent. The former Naval Chief Admiral J. G. Nadkarni put it candidly when he said: “Jointmanship in India exists to the extent of the three Chiefs routinely being photographed backslapping each other, but not much more beyond that3.’’

Implementation of jointmanship on ground has been excruciatingly difficult and slow. All jointmanship proposals get opposed fiercely on specious grounds. How can measures which are considered indispensable to national security concerns be opposed by the very military leaders entrusted with ensuring national security? It is a highly intriguing and paradoxical situation.


Whenever jointmanship is talked about in India, the National Defence Academy (NDA) is cited as an example. There is no denying the fact that a three year course at NDA is exceedingly useful especially during the formative years. However, its value is limited in the long run as service prejudices tend to overwhelm the camaraderie of cadet days.
Most of the senior appointments in the armed forces are held by ex- NDA officers. Yet they fail to rise above service bias and pay only lip service to jointmanship. Admiral Nadkarni acknowledges, “Jointmanship is not backslapping in public, playing golf together and stating that they all belong to one course in the NDA4.”

Besides the NDA, a number of other inter-services courses are also conducted. They have also done little to generate genuine jointmanship except promoting social interaction during the course. Likewise, the affiliation of a few naval warships with army regiments can at best be termed as a display of ceremonial interfacing.

Although the importance and need for jointmanship remain undisputed, the concept evokes wide-ranging reaction amongst Indian military leaders. On one side, we have fervent proponents of jointmanship whereas on the other, there is a small minority which is intransigently opposed. The majority lies somewhere between the two extremes.

Table 1 shows broad categorization of reactions. The percentages are approximate estimates, based on informal interaction with a large and varied cross-section of defence officers. The sampling is indicative in nature. The table has been compiled to highlight the fact that most military leaders do not oppose jointmanship. Only a small minority (about 10 per cent) resists introduction of all jointmanship measures.

True jointmanship assigns absolute importance to national interests. Therefore, there have to be very compelling reasons for dissonance. In order to understand why something there is dissonance, it is essential to understand how it came about. Response to jointmanship is an attribute of underlying attitudes and to appreciate the reasons for opposition to jointmanship, it is essential to identify attitudinal traitsof the military leadership. It is only through the modulation of attitudes that willing acceptance of jointmanship can be facilitated.

Attitude is defined as a disposition or inclination in respect of something or someone. Attitudes are affected both by implicit and explicit influences. Attitudes can be positive, negative, neutral and even ambivalent (possessing both positive and negative hues at the same time). Even the degree or severity can vary.

Attitudes are formed by observational learning from the environment, individual judgment, personal beliefs and peer influences. The military is the most hierarchy-based organization where attitudes and behaviour are influenced by precedents as well. Attitudes do change with experience but it is normally a slow, unpredictable and spasmodic process.

What makes some segments of the Indian military leadership wary of jointmanship and adopt a negative attitude towards it? Major attitudinal reasons are discussed in Table 1.


Despite all the public bonhomie, there is limited interaction, dialogue and communication between the three services. This results in non development of mutual trust, which is essential for joint functioning. This lack of trust can be gauged from the fact that the Indian Army prepared General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) for helicopters without consulting the Indian air Force (IAF)5. Similarly, it prepared GSQR for deep sea diving equipment without seeking inputs from the Indian Navy IN6.

Even the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has criticized the three services for separately buying the same equipment from the same source at different cost, thereby losing benefits of economies of scale7. It found that items (like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Sniper Rifles and Underwater Diving Equipment), which were common to the three services, were procured independently, without reference to each other. It resulted in failure to obtain best value for money for the country.


The services accord immense importance to the concept of ‘Regimental/ Corps/branch affiliations’. Undoubtedly, regimental spirit acts as a force multiplier at unit/battalion level but becomes counter-productive at higher levels. The psychology and mental outlook of senior leaders become insular, resulting in three major harmful fallouts.

First, some senior commanders tend to develop unhealthy prejudices and partisan attitudes. Many find it prudent to display their predisposition for their affiliations openly. Secondly, it damages organizational cohesion and gives rise to factionalism. Strong regimental loyalties result in social stratification and dissentions8. And finally, affiliations encourage a ‘protégé syndrome’ and displace merit as the primary measure of competence in the organization.

Excessive adherence to affiliations inhibits the development of broadmindedness. If some military leaders fail to rise above petty regimental level thinking, they can hardly be expected to have an attitude necessary for promoting inter-services integration.


Over-cohesiveness has both positive and negative effects. It may knit a group together but it also generates inter-group friction as highly cohesive groups tend to become inward-looking and dogmatic in their beliefs.

All the three services are affected by the ‘outsider’ syndrome. Decisions and responses are weighed on a ‘we versus them’ scale. ‘We’ implies a group owing allegiance to a Regiment or a branch and all others are branded as ‘outsiders’. Merit becomes irrelevant. A few years ago some armoured corps officers were transferred to infantry battalions as there were no command vacancies in the armoured corps at that time. They were highly competent officers and yet were treated with brazen hostility. Almost all infantry battalions resented being commanded by the ‘outsiders’.

The same is true of higher formations. Command of infantry brigades and divisions by artillery and engineers officers is considered a sacrilege by most infantry officers9. According to them, only the infantry officers should command these formations. If there is opposition to the command of infantry formations by non-infantry army officers, will putting them under Naval or Air Force officers be readily accepted?

Such an attitude is not limited to the infantry alone. ‘Outsiders’ are considered a threat by all. A similar attitude was on display when questions were raised about allowing a helicopter pilot, an ‘outsider’; occupy the top post in the IAF which was considered to be the exclusive domain of fighter pilots.


Services guard their turf with fierce fanaticism. Every proposal that affects a service’s span of command faces strident resistance. The services want jointmanship but with an assurance of protection of their domain, whereas jointness has to result in a reduction of the domain of each service to prevent duplication/triplication. Conservation of resources and effort is one of the primary objectives of jointmanship.

The degree of apprehension regarding jointmanship can be gauged from Air Marshal B.D. Jayal’s views. He writes: “The army’s case for transferring medium and attack helicopters to it has merely given us a sneak preview of the old mindsets that still prevail in all service headquarters beneath the veneer of jointmanship and bonhomie10.” According to Major General Ashok Mehta, the greatest fear of the Air force is that it will be marginalized under the new dispensation11.

Admiral J.G. Nadkarni frankly admits: “The Army is 20 times the size of the Indian Navy and 10 times the size of the Air Force. The first priority of the Air Force and Navy and their Chiefs in India is to maintain their identities.” He further acknowledged that the two smaller services were wary of too much jointmanship lest they and their achievements got swallowed up by the bigger service12.


Human beings are products of their environment. Their ethos, attitudes and disposition are tempered by the environment in which they operate and what they imbibe in their formative years. Many officers never get an opportunity in their formative years to serve in an open environment. Some remain cosseted in highly sheltered appointments throughout their careers, either within their Corps or under their regimental superiors.

Due to lack of adequate exposure, they fail to acquire a broader vision with advancement in career and remain encumbered with local issues. To them, national or inter-service matters are far too remote to be of immediate concern. Their apathetic attitude towards jointmanship is a result of their inability to grasp and fully appreciate the criticality.


According to Morris Janowitz, in the civilian image, military officers are the personification of Max Weber’s ideal bureaucrat. They resist change, prefer status-quo. They are also acutely aware of their personal status – both formal and informal, as status provides a sense of fulfillment in the highly hierarchy-conscious services. To them, jointmanship portends uncertainty and role ambiguity; whereas they want to be
assured that their status will not be adversely affected. They dread loss of exclusivity and privileged standing. It is only human to be concerned about individual interests. Promotions are an important aspect of an officer’s aspirations. Vacancies at higher levels are extremely limited.

The tri-services environment after the implementation of jointmanship is bound to be highly competitive and challenging. Overall merit and not corps/regimental seniority will determine higher military leadership. Apprehensions about the likely curtailment of promotional avenues and reduction in vacancies under the proposed dispensation weigh heavily on many. This sense of insecurity manifests itself by their being wary of


A two-track approach needs to be followed. First, concerted efforts should be made to change the attitude of the military leadership to pave the way for smooth introduction of measures of jointmanship. And secondly, the Government should adopt a more pro-active stance and intervene effectively to force the pace of reforms.

Acceptance of jointmanship is contingent to the progressive development of a broader vision in the military leadership. Military commanders have to be groomed to rise above narrow issues to think big. There is, thus an urgent need for a thorough transformation
of mindsets and attitudes. But it is not going to be an easy task.

As seen earlier, attitudes in the services are formed by regimental environment (traditions, precedents, norms and conventions), personal beliefs and experience. The manipulation of these seminal factors can facilitate management of attitudes (See Figure 1)Some of the suggested measures have been discussed below.


All visually differentiating entrapments should be abolished. Regimental identity should be limited up to the rank of Colonel. For all senior ranks, there should be a common uniform with no regimental badges.

The three services could even have a common rank structure. This is one single step that shall alter the mindset of officers and act as a unifying factor. They will start identifying themselves as Indian defence officers rather than be always reminded of their own service and regimental affiliations.


To start with, a Colonel Commandant was like a father figure who acted as a ‘conscious keeper’ of the Regiment and a guardian of regimental traditions. His basic duty was to foster esprit-de-corps. However, in the last few decades this concept has got totally distorted as some overzealous Colonel Commandants take it upon themselves to obtain undue advantages for their Regiments, apparently at the cost of the more deserving. Presently, it has degenerated into an anachronistic institution that inhibits progressive thinking and restricts the focus of senior leadership to petty issues. While heading the ‘whole’ they identify themselves with a ‘part’ and fail to rise to a higher plane.


All one star (Brigadier and equivalent) and higher officers must serve alternate tenures in an inter-services environment. This should be a mandatory requirement. Future promotions must take due cognizance of their performance under officers of the other services. Senior officers must also be imparted transformational skills. They should be competent to lead integrated set-ups and mould their subordinates into cohesive functional teams. They must understand the psyche of officers drawn from different services and interact with them with empathy.


Members identify themselves with an organization only when rules are applied in an impartial, non-arbitrary and transparent manner. No individual is going to subordinate his personal interests to organizational interests unless there are strong merit-performance ethical linkages in place. Transparency in policies, selection criteria and selection process will go a long way in generating confidence in the fairness of the system.

Frequent changes in policies breed uncertainty and uncertainty gives rise to apprehensions. For willing acceptance of jointmanship by all, it is essential that an environment of continuity and permanence is assured. There should be an institutionalised arrangement for collegiate decision making for long term policy preparation. Decisions must not be inconsistent or capricious.


For leaders, impartiality is an ethical requirement and an essential component of their functioning. Trust is the expectancy that the followers can rely on a leader’s impartial and just approach. Trust is valuable, visceral, complex and intuitive. It is an incredibly potent force and virtually non-substitutable. It flourishes on credibility that a leader enjoys in his command.

Jointmanship can thrive only if the environment has implicit faith in the fairness of the system. Impartiality means treating everyone as equal and rewarding them purely on their merit – free of service or regimental bias. Stringent standards for non-partisan conduct have to be laid down with suitable monitoring mechanisms to rectify aberrations.
The armed forces lay a lot of stress on ‘integrity’. Of late, integrity has come to be identified solely with financial propriety, whereas integrity also entails just and impartial conduct.


Social scientists consider the military as a highly structured and dynamic society which needs to follow well laid down norms for its continued sustenance. Norms are unwritten rules.Norms can be descriptive and prescriptive. Norms get evolved due to precedents and conventions set over a period of time.

Fig 1: Evolution and Modulation of Attitude towards

Organizational researchers have concluded that precedents and organizational norms have profound effect on moulding attitude. Jointmanship is characterised by trust and confidence, mutual respect for each other’s capability and cooperation, rather than competition13. A culture of synergistic relationships and mutually accommodative demeanor will contribute immensely towards jointmanship.


If the services continue their quibbling and jointmanship remains stalled, it is time the Government intervenes to fulfill its mandated duty. It cannot let the drift continue and force introduction of jointmanship in a time-bound schedule. The role of the Government could be in three incremental stages, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Government’s Role in Jointmanship


  1. The stages are neither exclusive in terms of time frame nor necessarily sequential in nature. They may and should overlap. It is for the Government to initiate simultaneous measures to keep the process on track.
  2. The time mentioned for each stage is indicative in nature and is based on the normal tenures of senior military leaders.
    • Facilitative Stage

    Decision by consensus is always the preferred option as it creates synergy in an organization and facilitates smooth implementation. All conflicts of interest – real or perceived – must be resolved in a spirit of mutual accommodation.

    As the term indicates, initially the Government should act a facilitator. However, it should make its determination to introduce jointmanship in a time-bound schedule be known to the three services in no uncertain terms. The services should be prompted to adopt collaborative conflict resolution methodology and reach a consensus.

    • Persuasive Stage

    The Government should adopt a more pro-active approach if the facilitative approach fails to yield the desired consensus. The services must be told in categorical terms that the Government would intervene compellingly in case the services fail to respond positively.

    Generally, consensus building gets stalled due to the apprehensions in the minds of a few dominant personalities. When some leaders get rooted in a denial mode, they fail to acknowledge the existence of any logic. It is also a well established fact that changing attitudes through persuasion is considerably difficult if the target group is intelligent and possesses high self-esteem.

    It is for the Government to handle the skeptics in a more persuasive manner to put their reservations at rest and convince them of the criticality of jointmanship. If handled with firmness, finesse and empathy, all military leaders will come on board as their commitment to the cause of national security remains unquestionable.

    • Decree Stage

    In case even persuasion fails, the Government should fulfill its obligation to the nation by issuing clear-cut orders to enforce jointmanship. No disagreement thereafter should be tolerated. Even the US Congress had to enact Goldwater-Nichols Act to force the implementation of jointmanship14. National interests cannot be permitted to be held hostage to the intransigence of a few dissenting military leaders.


    Most military commanders are professedly staunch proponents of the concept of ointmanship. In other words, jointmanship has few opponents15. Additionally, jointmanship has been universally accepted as the engine that drives RMA. Yet, the reality on ground is diametrically opposite. All rhetoric in favour of jointmanship does not get translated into ground action. Every step towards jointmanship has been painstaking and protracted. This dichotomy has been the bane of the Indian Armed Forces.

    The search for recognition is one of the pursuits which all human beings indulge in and continuously strive for. As regards military leaders, their affiliation to their regiments and services generates a sense of brotherhood and intense group loyalty, thereby fulfilling their need for identity. However, it adversely affects their growth as leaders who need to articulate a much broader vision.

    All soldiers are sworn to be prepared to make supreme sacrifice for national security. For them, national interests remain absolute and all other considerations become non-existent. If that be so, there should never be any opposition to jointmanship from any quarter whatsoever. But soldiers are also human. They have aspirations and apprehensions. An endeavour should be made to provide assurance to the environment that the new dispensation will be fair, just and equitable to all.

    Attitudes are moulded by environment. Acceptance or resistance of any change is totally dependent on the attitudinal approach of the target group. Attitudes can, however, be changed by changing environmental influences and persuasion. As seen earlier, this can be achieved through implicit and explicit measures. But it requires mature and concerted effort.

    There are times in the life of every nation when hard decisions are required to be taken by the leadership. Delay or wavering can cause irreparable damage to national security imperatives. As regards jointmanship, enough time has already been lost for specious reasons. Immediate and resolute implementation is absolutely inescapable.

    National security is too serious a matter to be permitted to drift. Regimental and service loyalties cannot be permitted to take precedence over national interests. If the government and the military leadership are convinced that jointmanship is central to India’s defence preparedness, a decision must be taken and implemented accordingly.
    Genuine concerns of all must be addressed but unjustified obduracy should not be tolerated. _

    • 1. Vinod A. Kumar, “Will the Joint Doctrine Result in Synergy on the Ground,” IDSA Strategic Comment, New Delhi, June 08, 2006.
    • 2. According to Vinod Anand, the essence is inter-service cooperation for synchronisation of all components of military power to achieve a common military aim. See Vinod Anand, “Future Battlespace and Need for Jointmanship,” Strategic Analysis, New Delhi, January 2000.
    • 3. . J.G. Nadkarni, “India’s Forces Must Join or Perish,” Rediff on theNet, June 8, 2000, at (Accessed on May 16, 2007)
    • 4. . J.G. Nadkarni, “A Lean Mean Fighting Machine,” Rediff on the Net, February 9, 1999, http:/ / (Accessed on May 16, 2007).
    • 5. The army had put up a case for procuring helicopters to replace its aging fleet of Cheetah’s and Chetaks in 2002-2007
    • 6. General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) were prepared in isolation without availing expertise available with the Air Force. Needless to say that GSQR were highly flawed necessitating abortion of the case and fresh initiation, resulting in time and cost overruns.
    • 7. The Army needed deep sea diving equipment for its special forces. GSQR were prepared without availing the benefit of Navy’s expertise. GSQR were so ambitious that at the time of field trials, the Army found it to be beyond their operational requirement and capability.
    • 8. . See Comptroller and Auditor General of India, “Report for the year ending March 2006: Union Government (Defence Services),” No. 4 of 2007, pp. 9-10.
    • 9. There has been an exponential increase in the number of court cases being filed by service personnel to seek justice. Seeking justice through courts shows soldiers’ lack of faith in the fairness of the system. Soldiers knock at courts’ doors only when driven to it as a last resort. They feel aggrieved and deprived of their rightful dues. Partisanship caused by affiliations is considered by many to be one of the main contributory causes.Other arms officers (artillery, engineers and signals) can command infantry formations if selected for the General Cadre. There are no permanent rules in place. It depends entirely on a Chief’s views. There is an interesting case which occurred a few years ago. A non-infantry Chief inducted a large number of artillery and other arms officers into the General Cadre. The next Chief who was from the infantry reversed the policy. Such instances only go to prove that the top leadership that fails to free itself of biases at service level can hardly be expected to have a national perspective of jointmanship issues.
    • 10. Brijesh D. Jayal, “Chinks in the Armour – How were Actual Operations Conducted in the Kargil War,” The Telegraph, Calcutta, August 4, 2004. Jointmanship and Attitudinal Issues Journal of Defence Studies • Volume 1 No. 1 85
    • 11. Ashok K. Mehta, “Three Chiefs in Search of a Chair,” The Pioneer, New Delhi, August 29, 2001.
    • 12. . Nadkarni, no. 3. Admiral Nadkarni laments that Indians are only aware of India’s Army and the soldier. “Most have never heard of the other two services; leave alone their contribution in any conflict. In Punjab, for example, there are Jarnail (General) Singhs and Karnail (Colonel) Singhs. But one has not come across an Admiral Singh or an Air Marshal Singh,“ he adds.
    • 13. Vinod Anand, no 2
    • 14. The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defence Reorganisation Act of 1986 (GNA) is generally considered to be the first step of the currently ongoing Revolution in Military Affiars (RMA). After the US failures in the Iran hostage rescue attempt and Grenada operations, a need was felt to re-organise the US forces through an act of legislation. Under GNA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was designated as the principal military advisor to the President, National Security Council and Secretary of Defence. The restructuring provided unity of command, unity of effort, integrated planning, shared procurement and a reduction/elimination in inter-services rivalry.
    • 15. . All the three services have laid down doctrine that support jointmanship. The stress is on cooperation, mutual trust and partnership. According to the Army Doctrine issued in October 2004, future wars are likely to be characterised by added emphasis on the all-arms concept and need for increased jointmanship between the land, naval and air forces.
    Jointmanship Jointness: An Indian Strategic Culture Perspective August 2007 Rahul K. Bhonsle


    Integration of battlefield assets, be it man or machine, has been a time worn cliché in warfare. The orchestration of forces with dissimilar characteristics such as the infantry, charioteers, elephants and cavalry was considered as the spark of a military genius. A few like Alexander or Hannibal distinguished themselves in the art of the set-piece battles, replicated on the modern conventional battlefield. As warfare extends in five dimensions of land, sea, air, space and cyber, challenges of integration have greatly increased. At the same time there is a need to maintain the identity of each component based on differential in employment, training, equipping, maintenance and logistics.

    This dichotomy is resolved through creation of joint forces, the US Armed forces being the foremost model, evolved through the Goldwater- Nichols DoD Reorganization Act 1986. Their success in operations during the Gulf War in 1991, in Operation Enduring Freedom 2001 and Iraqi Freedom 2003 led to acceptance of jointness in other armed forces.

    The debate over jointness in India commenced post-Kargil 1999. Historically, however, the issue has been evolving for the last four decades or so. In the initial years this was focused on appointment of a Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) which first came up for discussion post 1965 and sadly enough continues to this day. Joint or theatre commands and integration of Service HQs with Ministry of Defence (MoD) are other strands of this debate. At the functional level the hierarchical ladder of jointness envisages cooperation, coordination, integration and jointness (CCIJ). While there is a general agreement on the need for implementation of first three steps, CCI – the final J
    - jointness continues to remain elusive. The debate on jointness is also singularly lacking in perspective from the point of view of India’s strategic culture and security environment. Moreover glitches in existing models of jointness need to be taken into account before adaptation. It is therefore necessary to apply the stimulus of national strategic culture to the jointness debate in India and evoke possible responses.


    The aim of this paper is to explore implementation of jointness from the Indian strategic culture perspective. The paper is structured in three parts as follows:-

    1. Part I – Review of Indian strategic culture and the security environment.
    2. Part II – Impact on various strands of the current jointness debate.
    3. Part III – Recommendations for implementation.



    The application of a theoretical precept like strategic culture to the all important issue of jointness in the Indian armed forces could possibly lack the desired degree of rigour. No single theory is adequate to explain the nuances of a concept which has a doctrinal as well as organizational impact. Strategic culture is however considered most utilitarian as it touches on the core issues that drive jointness in the armed forces. It is a factor which impacts all aspects of national security without being overtly demonstrative. Simplistically, it can be defined as a world view of the strategic community of a particular country. Strategic culture provides answers to the black holes of decisions taken by the armed forces.

    India’s strategic culture has evolved over the country’s millennial history with myriad influences dating back to periods of great triumph as well as distress. The key strands of India’s security culture are strategic sovereignty, military force as one of the many components of power; non-time bound goals and a nuanced approach to resolution of problems.

    From the definitional point of view, strategic culture has been variously denoted. A working definition provided by Rodney Jones in a recent study on Indian strategic culture states it to be: “a set of shared beliefs, assumptions, and modes of behaviour, derived from common experiences and accepted narratives (both oral and written), that shape collective identity and relationships to other groups, and which determine appropriate ends and means for achieving security objectives1.” The use of strategic culture for understanding the complexities of military doctrine was first made in the 1970’s to dissect the dialectics of nuclear deterrence between the United States and the Soviet Union2. Subsequently this has also been applied to international relations in the context of neo-culturalism in two forms, as it connects domestic politics and the moral or cultural norms which affect security decision making.3

    In terms of domestic politics and strategic culture, it is seen that while making decisions, civilian leaders tend to maximize domestic political interests rather than national security. Thus maintenance of the status quo may assume greater importance4. The other issue of historical experiences and legacies shaping culture is also significant. Domestic political interests, traditions of decision making, historical experiences and the myths of war making are considered primary cultural influences which impact a military command and control system5. It is therefore proposed to extrapolate these to the contours of strategic culture as applicable to the issue under consideration.

    Exploring Indian strategic culture by applying these norms is however problematic. The limited literature on the subject from the Indian point of view mars true appreciation of the issue. While a number of essays and larger works on Indian strategic thought do exist and represent the rigour with which western scholars approach such issues through the application of designated research tools, these seem to miss the distilled vision of the strategic community of the country. Joel Larus (1979) was one of the first to research on the subject. This was followed by George Tanham in 1995 and Stephen Rosen in 1997. Another recent essay is by Rodney Jones published in 2006. All these writers have acknowledged the complexity in determining India’s strategic culture and then gone on to survey the significant points in India’s ancient to modern history.

    Some have been outright dismissive of existence of a strategic culture in India though Jones has acknowledges that, “Discerning the underlying traits of India’s strategic culture, its distinctiveness, and its resonance in India’s contemporary actions may take some effort. But it can be done” and goes on to describe it as, “omniscient patrician type” as opposed to others such as, “theocratic, mercantilist, frontier expansionist, imperial bureaucratic, revolutionary technocratic, and marauding or predatory6.” Perhaps the lack of Indian articulation of contemporary strategic culture has led to varied conclusions by these scholars of repute.

    Indian writers while not accepting these hypotheses by rote have failed to provide alternative summations or easily definable characteristics of the same. Sumit Ganguly in a paper presented at the Association of Asian Studies (AAS ) Annual Meeting from 11 – 14 March 1999 at Boston had argued that India does have a strategic culture but it is “implicit and inchoate7.” In a series of commentaries on Tanham’s work on Indian strategic thoughts in 1996, Indian scholars to include Amitabh Mattoo, Kanti Bajpai, Varun Sahni and others contest claims that India lacks strategic culture and have offered alternative understanding of the same through a review of interplay of factors in Indian history8. The next phase of probes into Indian strategic culture appeared immediately after the nuclear tests in 1998. These were prescriptive given the focus during the period on review rather than understanding the system. In the absence of clearly defined definitions of Indian strategic culture, a tentative elaboration of the same derived from snippets offered by many of the authors quoted above is attempted in the succeeding paragraphs.

    Significance of Timing: Indian strategic culture is defined by timing decisions. Western scholars have viewed this as, “timeless” or lack of sense of urgency in
    decision making9. The difference between the two will be evident in the foregoing discussion. Timing implies resolution at the most appropriate time when all factors governing an issue are perfectly aligned. The strategic effort is directed at positioning forces towards a solution rather than at the end which is seen as a natural outcome of the maneuvering.

    Control of the level of a conflict is essential to timing, thus all efforts are made to ensure that it does not escalate. This approach has led to adoption of the strategic defensive as the most preferred option by the Indian military, be it in the conventional or the low intensity conflict spectrum. The overall aim is to control escalation at a level where it can be easily absorbed by the system. Deterrence in the nuclear field is another strand of the culture driven by timing. Longterm results at least in counter insurgency operations from adoption of such a strategy appear to be favorable.

    Actively Shaping the Future: Linked with timing is the acceptance of the limits of power thereby devoting energy on evolving the future rather than actively shaping it. This is innately at variance with Western focus on defining an end state and working towards it10. Thus planning and working towards a goal has been difficult for Indians the most significant impact on security being the interminable delays in research and development projects of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The focus may many times appear to be on the means rather than the ends and comes from a misplaced understanding of factors such as civilizational longevity and assimilative culture.11,12

    Cultivated Ambiguity: In the absence of a clearly defined time bound plan for achieving objectives, a perception of ambiguity in strategic thought is evident. This ambiguity is cultivated in some cases but proffers ignorance in others. Non articulation of strategic concepts and doctrines is one reason for this perception. However that the ambiguity is finely nuanced will be evident from a survey of the strategic elite of the country over the years. India’s policy, both internal and external, is essentially controlled by a clutch of ministers formed in two committees of the Cabinet, Political Affairs and Security. The principal decision makers are, apart from the Prime Minister, the Home, Defence, External Affairs and Finance ministers. These ministries over the years have always been held by men of high strategic repute some exceptions not withstanding. Not many of them could be faulted for lack of understanding of grand strategy, yet very few have been articulate about the same. Sensitivity to their own domestic constituency, is more important than being seen by others as a militarist is
    not endearing. This may be one possible reason for this dichotomy.

    Crisis as a Tipping Point: Another corollary to timing is crisis acting as the tipping point for action. The post-Kargil review of defence and security structure in the country is an example of this syndrome. However once the crisis passes, interest in the solution dries up leading to stagnation of important issues as CDS. The lack of existential threat, be it from external or internal forces also supports this surmise. Apart from the ides of 1962, India has not faced an external challenge of existential magnitude, on the other hand confidence of the leadership to survive internal torments has added to sanguinity as well as strategic torpor.

    Skepticism of Force as the Ultimate Arbitrator: Force is not considered the ultimate arbitrator of a conflict by Indians. India’s deep rooted understanding of history leading back to 230 BC when the Mauryan Empire extended across the far reaches of the plains of Punjab to the present day ignominies faced by equally powerful nations in overtures in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka has embedded this perception even deeper. This has also led to evolution of alternate strategies as non-violence with Emperor Asoka being the most powerful role model. Mahatma Gandhi, the leading light of the Indian freedom struggle, however, had a more nuanced approach to use of violence. A sum total of these beliefs is relegation of the military to a secondary role in the hierarchy of national power structure over the years. Military force does have its place but is not to be used for perpetuating state power unless in a crisis. The role of the armed forces is to maintain the status quo rather than transforming the strategic equation in the neighbourhood.

    Episodic view of History: Indian view of history is episodic rather analytical13. The lack of a documented historical perspective with reliance on word of mouth passage of information with anticipated distortions, debate and discussions all being unrecorded do not promote accountability. Lack of articulation of strategic thought has been a natural corollary flowing out of the same.

    Feudalism: Human societies graduate from the individual- family feudal- state-nation to the Union paradigm. The Indian nation state has been in existence for just over sixty years; it has yet to emerge from the vestiges of feudalism which was hyphenated during the British Raj. The feudal outlook has to be viewed not negatively but realistically as
    a paradigm of an era. The military which is relatively more westernized than other segments of Indian society also exhibits traits of a feudal outlook in the form of over attachment to assets, reluctance to share power and petty internal politicking. This also contributes to lack of perception of national interest as a concept, thus Indians are more able to relate to the self, the clan or the family rather than the nation state, thereby preventing emergence of security strategies which maximize national gains. Another consequence of feudalism is resistance to institutional growth.

    The Realist School: The dichotomy of Indian strategic culture is highlighted in writings of Chanakya, who as a true realist advised rulers to maximize power through political rather than military means14. Ruse, deceit, cunning and subterfuge were the weapons of choice proposed by the wily king maker. The impact of Chanakya in the Indian security establishment is well set. Maximizing self-gain is thus one of the key attributes of security planners in the country. The inherent conflict of the realist school is also reflected in the strategic culture.

    Continental Power: There is a congenital linkage between the military and army in India. As Admiral J.G. Nadkarni aptly summed it up: “In Punjab...there are Jarnail (General) Singhs and Karnail (Colonel) Singhs. But one has not come across an Admiral Singh or an Air Marshal Singh15.” India’s continental focus emerges from manifestation of primary threats including the post independence ones from across the land frontiers. Thus the Army is the primary service, the Navy is neglected and the Air Force has not been able to make an impact due to its rather insular approach by not participating in sub- conventional operations. The result is limited development of an inter services culture. It is but natural that militaries have parochial interests in protecting their organizational strength and prestige16. This has contributed to service rivalries some times deliberately fostered. The Army in some ways has fallen into this trap which some say was the unstated agenda of Pakistan in engaging India in multi-pronged militancy across the board.

    RMA and Champions of Jointness: Over the past decade or so, the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), a new form of war and jointness has received impetus in the armed forces. There is a small school which is championing jointness, principal amongst whom is the former IN Chief, Admiral Arun Prakash. Creation of the Headquaters of the Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS )has provided a forum for the jointness school through which it can propagate its ideas. This body however has not attained critical mass. The nay sayers consider them as utopian and have been constantly chafing at their ideas.
    However, this does denote a streak of modernization which is not driven by crisis but with a desire to avoid a future catastrophe.


    The armed forces culture of the country is an intermesh of the legacy of professionalism, exclusiveness, apolitical ness and submissive approach to the political-bureaucratic hierarchy. When these attributes mesh with factors indicated above a number of distinct trends are evident. On the positive side is professionalism in the context of armed forces of developing countries, the Indian military will surely be counted amongst the top three. However, when compared with forces of developed states there are glaring shortcomings one of which is lack of jointness. The submissive approach to the political-bureaucratic class is a manipulated manifestation. Thus be it humiliation of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya, two of India’s most respected Chiefs, the sacking of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat or systematically lowering the services in order of precedence it has now become inbuilt in the system.

    The legacy of Field Marshal Cariappa also meant that the armed forces remained apolitical. The armed forces chain of command is thus not a part of the inner circle of politicking in the power elite lacking formal as well as informal ear of the ruling hierarchy. Denial of access to the political hierarchy has worked to the detriment of both sides. Professionalism has been strained by the narrow streak of insularity, thereby preventing cooperation between the services at higher levels.

    The biggest problem however is the sabre-fighter-bayonet approach of the military which is incongruous to a 21st century military force which needs innate macro as well micro management capabilities for defence preparedness.

    The pyramidic structure of the armed forces, reality of stove piped promotions and limited competencies to operate outside the narrow professional spectrum have led to acquiescence to the chain of command. Dissent is much talked about but dangerous to practice. The development of alternate views is thus slow, tempered with tact and frequently duplicity. This has concomitantly bred parochialism in the services where
    constituents do not go beyond the simplistic relationship build at a nascent stage in the National Defence Academy (NDA).


    Jointness as a concept has been accepted in all major militaries the world over. Some 60 plus armed forces have adopted the integrated model. The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA )practices the same through the War Zone Campaign (WZC) doctrine which envisages joint campaigning at the theatre level. The US Armed Forces are indeed the most integrated and also have adequate operational experience to provide empirical feedback of the effectiveness of integration.

    The American successes in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom were spectacular, leading to what came to be known as the, “American Way of War.” The subsequent embroilment in sub-conventional operations in both the countries have now led to many questions on the effectiveness of the system to address the security challenges faced by modern states. The Rums field–Shinseki debate, the removal of Donald Rums field as the Secretary of Defence and emerging controversy over, resignation” of Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace has raised serious questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of the US integrated system.

    A cursory examination devoid of a deeper perspective leads one to conclude that joint structures have militated against dissent based on sound professional reasoning reaching the political hierarchy. This in no way militates against the idea of jointness, but only implies the need for caution. The perils of single point advice are two-fold and are interrelated – one is autonomy and the other is fidelity. Selecting the right man for the right task is another issue.

    The US Central Command, embroiled in counter-insurgency and antiterrorism operations, is headed by two naval admirals, who despite their otherwise outstanding professional credentials, may not have the insight needed to evolve norms for success in the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan17.


    The main conclusions that arise from the discussion above indicate the contrasts between Western and Indian strategic culture. The complexity of Indian strategic traditions and its nuances are well highlighted to include lack of articulation, significance of timing, evolutionary approach to security issues, cultivated ambiguity, crisis as tipping point, non reliance on force as the ultimate arbitrator, weak historical perspective, feudal outlook, Kautilyan realism clashing with Gandhian liberalism, continental focus and armed forces culture. It is also evident that efficacy of the integrated model adapted by other forces particularly the United States needs to be examined critically before adaptation.



    While evaluating the impact of strategic culture and its manifestations on jointness, there is a need to highlight the proposed strands of jointness. These could be envisaged as follows:

    1. Organization: In the organizational perspective the CDS as a single point military adviser to the political executive, creation of a Joint Integrated Defence Staff HQ with suitable structures to deal with perspective planning, procurement, intelligence and defence education, integration of service HQ with the MoD and creation of theatre commands appear as the most relevant issues.
    2. Functional: In functional jointness, operational issues to include operational planning and conduct, fire support, engineering, communications and administration of forces, training for war, manpower planning, morale and motivation and logistics are some of the key facets.
    3. Doctrinal: In doctrinal issues, evolution, dissemination, revision, re-evaluation and review are critical factors.
    4. Capability Building: In capability building, constant predation through generation of long range requirements, research and development, acquisition and subsequent sustenance are the major issues.
      1. The impact of strategic culture on each of these strands of jointness is tabulated as given below in two columns, those having positive impact and those having negative impact. Only those factors which are relevant have been discussed subsequently in the narrative. Some factors may find place both as positive and negative components
        which is being elaborated appropriately.

        In the organizational strand, taking the issue of CDS first, it would be evident that the champions of jointness and the realist school recognize the necessity to build institutions for modern war fighting and thus have been fostering this cause. On the other hand, the vestiges of armed forces culture with divisive proclivities which are service as well as personality driven, resistance to growth of stable institutions and a recognition that force cannot be designated as the ultimate arbitrator has led to resistance. Moreover, a review of effectiveness of CDS from the US experience as well as claimed efficiencies of the present system to successfully consummate 1971 operations has also led some critics to negate its value18.

        While a Joint HQ, IDS has been created, its overall status in the pecking order is not fully acknowledged. The commitment of the Service HQs has not been institutionalized and is dependent on the personality and service of the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). Since this is a rotatory appointment, armed forces culture and resistance for institutional growth has a major impact on sustenance which the RMA enthusiasts will find hard to resist.

        The Integration of the Service HQ with the MoD is the most contentious issue. The Armed Forces as it appears are not likely to be satisfied until they assume control of the MoD, a notion which is precisely leading to fears in the bureaucracy to keep the uniform at an arms length. Thus cultivated ambiguity, resistance to growth of institutions and learning environment, proscribe greater integration.

        The formation of Theatre Commands has not progressed beyond the recommendations of the Group of Ministers. A logical outcome should have been integration of other single service regional commands in a graduated manner. What is existing at present is lamented upon by Admiral Nadkarni who states: “If we have a war in the west, for example, the Army Commander will be in Pune, the Naval Commander in Mumbai and Air Force Commander in Ahmedabad19.” Though the geographical locations may vary today, the key issue is that these are not congruent. Looking into the cultural factors, a feudal approach, the lack of synergy and resistance to growth of new institutions appears to be the main hindrance towards emergence of theatre commands. Moreover, politically the timing of such a move will never be auspicious as there will be resistance from a large number of agencies which have been well entrenched in existing locations of HQs such as Shillong or Pune.

        Perceptive senior leaders as General K.V. Krishna Rao indicated the need for theatre commands most lucidly in Prepare or Perish way back in 199120. But relocating has been a perennial problem which is now supported by development of communication and video conferencing which is said to mitigate distance. Ownership is a major issue with senior commanders, who feel that service assets should be under corresponding colour of the uniform rather than operational needs. Given the complexity, the Task Force on Higher Defence Management did not go beyond recommendations for one functional (Strategic Forces) and one theatre (Andaman and Nicobar) command which are grossly inadequate to develop integration, much less jointness.

        In functional integration, joint operational planning has been facilitated during times of crisis and has now been achieved in the sphere of disaster management. In other areas operational staffs of service retain their right of way and the trend is hampered by armed forces culture and resistance to institutional growth. There is also reason to believe that for specific type of operations such as counter insurgency or sea rescue, the Army or the Navy with assistance from the IAF could be the best service to achieve the desired objectives, thereby leading to lack of progress in this sphere.

        The armed forces culture of professionalism has led to large amount of time being spent on training but this is a double edged factor. Training is a strength leading to greater professionalism but a weakness when it acts as resistance to extrinsic learning. Culture similarly affects manpower planning as an insular approach combined with feudalism is not conducive to evolution of a standardized system of recruitment, promotion and career planning.

        Morale and motivation is another facet where a joint approach could have been helpful. With progressive welfare policies followed by the Armed forces, there is cultural sustenance from the organizational perspective as well, however a feudal approach prevents generation of a common paradigm of pay, discipline, welfare and other concomitant issues. Logistics again is held hostage to culture. There is lack of sense of sharing of best practices and satiation with the present processes thereby leading to stagnation within services in siloed structures. This is creating inefficiencies and economic encumbrances.

        The resistance to doctrinal development is evident with no congruent joint doctrine encompassing the multi-spectrality of operations in the contemporary environment having been issued so far. Two primary concepts on which developed armed forces are based are network centric warfare(NCW) and effect based operations (EBO). The available literature on the subject indicates that there are in-service differences on these issues leading to lack of doctrinal clarity.

        A culture of cultivated ambiguity where there is resistance to putting firm directions in writing for fear of debate is one of the major factors. Similarly no clear doctrinal enunciations are emerging from the Cabinet Committee on Security. Service HQs are finding it difficult to translate the ambiguous instructions to tasking at the strategic level. A weak documented historical perspective is also contributing to lack of joint doctrinal development.

        Joint capability building through force accretion, training, doctrine and envisaged operational concepts is the sum total of military proficiency which when projected would either deter a potential enemy or suggest a weakness for exploitation through employment of force. Given that force is not considered as the ultimate arbitrator and ambiguity is employed as deterrence there is a need to overcome these cultural barriers before a perspective of development of joint capabilities can emerge.


        India’s national aim is to develop the state into a modern, secular democracy overcoming poverty and deprivation. This calls for exclusiveness and relative isolation of the military which is regarded as impinging on resources for development. This central paradigm of national thought has been supported by an assimilative rather than a confrontationist approach to security. Faced with problems of varied magnitude, Indian policy is to seek solutions which do not involve preemptive employment and limit rather than extend conflict. The military has thus been the weapon of last resort both in the internal and external dynamics which has led to neglect of understanding as well as nuanced employment.

        The emerging security paradigm is hopefully changing and was articulated by the Defence Minister during the Unified Commanders Conference in New Delhi on June 18, 2007 as, “a mix of security cooperation, developing strategic partnerships and deterrence21.” The need for jointness is exemplified for all three purposes and thus overcoming cultural barriers would be of significance.

        Taking the issue of the CDS, it should be recounted that for political leaders, domestic politics supersede national security22. The CDS as, “principal military adviser” to the government impinges on the primacy of the bureaucracy as this would imply that he would be Secretary of the Cabinet Committee on Security. This is obviously unacceptable to the bureaucratic hierarchy. The proposal has thus been stymied by dividing the services to maximize self interest23. The present state of the proposal is a typical bureaucratic merry go round of seeking opinions of all national level political parties. Four parties have so far responded to the MoD letter initiated in March 200624. Apparently domestic issues carry more weight.

        The need is therefore to expand the debate to dwell on the relationship between the CDS and the government, the CDS and the service chiefs, the CDS and the theatre commanders and so on to provide a deeper understanding of the issues involved in the context of India’s strategic decision making process. The CDS should be an integrative rather than a directional appointment and a carrier of single point advice to the government with dissenters in tow. Thus the Shinseki’s of India will have adequate recompense. This will build consensus amongst political parties. For such purposes the taboo of political interaction by representatives of the services in uniform may have to be removed. This does not impinge on political neutrality of the armed forces per se and would contribute to overall national interest by building transparency and overcoming false apprehensions.

        The service chiefs need to be made ex-officio heads of the HQ IDS). This will ensure better commitment than at present. Nurturing this institution is also essential. Full scale manning by the crème of the services is necessary. A time bound programme for reducing quadruplicating of functions now conducted by the HQ, IDS along with each of the Service HQs needs to be prepared and organizational resistance overcome. IDS should not be seen as another power centre but a joint forum for inter-service issues.

        A systemic exercise to eliminate duplication between the Services, the HQ IDS and the Ministry should also be carried out to ensure that the Defence Minister is provided with a considered input in all respects and the opinion of the service HQs along with corresponding inputs of the IDS and the bureaucracy directly reach him. A single file system may overcome many of the lacunae of integration.

        The most contentious issue is likely to be creation of theatre commands. The recommendations of the Task Force has not gone beyond two joint formations but the need for joint theatre commands need not be overemphasized. Here again breaking the feudal approach, service loyalties and resistance to change are likely to be major barriers which are considered so strong that a ministerial directive appears to be the only impetus to set the process in motion. While physical integration could be undertaken in the second stage, functional mixing with better communications available at present could be attempted initially taking one theatre at a time as a pilot project within the paradigm of a networked enabled force. An assurance that there will be no reduction of the total number of commanders in chief would make the senior hierarchy more amenable to change. Given the needs for more functional commands such as Special Forces, Logistics and so on, accommodating a number of C-in-Cs should be feasible.

        Thus, creation of theatre commands and placing them under the HQ, IDS in a graduated manner would lead to functional operational integration. With adequate expertise available to cater for service specific operations in theatre HQs, apprehensions of lack of specialization in tackling crisis situations will be overcome. There will be no doubt some disruption in this process of transformation and hence an operational period of slack of one to two years may be needed to make the shift.

        The establishment of a National Defence University (NDU) is seen as a panacea to higher defence learning. By taking the process of training online, greater integration may be achieved while at the same time resulting in economy. This can also start with conversion of all institutions of learning beyond that of a battalion and equivalent in the army to joint courses of instruction. Here a parallel track may have to be accepted and resistance to extrinsic learning has to be overcome by providing additional incentives, both monetary and promotional.

        The starting point to manpower planning appears to be joint recruiting, induction training and career planning. The Navy of late has been more open to the idea given that sea faring concepts are assimilative in nature, however the Air Force was seen to consistently oppose the idea of jointness25. A common confidential report form is one small but important measure to kick start the process, followed by joint selection boards for greater integration. Today the MoD is the only leveler in the career paths of the service officer -- that power should flow down to the services which will enable overcoming the barriers of feudalism. The Sixth Pay Commission is considered an ideal forum to evolve a joint pay structure for the armed forces, much work has been done in this sphere which needs to be carried forward. Joint policies on welfare and discipline will go a long way in integrating the services through inputs on morale and motivation.

        Economy is a principle of administration and logistics, which can be achieved only through a common logistics architecture. The United States Defence Logistics Agency provides a proven and tested model for adaptation of logistics integration. The inefficiencies of following parallel tracks in logistics are a national waste and ruthless integration through budgetary interventions if required is the way ahead.

        From conceptual ambiguity to a documented perspective to the pedagogic is the road for joint doctrinal development. This is an extremely rigorous field as it does not remove the need for parallel in service doctrines. Formation of joint doctrinal development teams in various fields should be the start point. A key necessity is the ability to transform general directives issued by cabinet committees into more specific directions to the services. This may appear quite confounding but is a common complaint with the services. For instance, General D.D. Eisenhower as chief of the largest force mustered by Western allies in Europe got very cryptic directions, “You will enter the Continent of Europe and in conjunction with the other Allied Nations undertake operations aimed at the heart of Germany and the destruction of her Armed Forces26.” Translating this into operational directions for multiplicity of task forces under the gigantic army that invaded North West Europe needed thorough doctrinal grounding.

        One final joint process which is perhaps the ultimate test is that of capability building. Joint capabilities are force multipliers in their own rights. These will sustain true Effects Based Operations (EBO) through networking of assets. The approach to this appears to be in terms of acquisition of weapons and systems, while these are essential, this has to be sustained through links with training, doctrines and developing systems architecture for plug in and out as new systems are developed and capability accretion takes place. Joint capability development programmes are thus the capstone of jointness.


        This paper attempts to place, Indian strategic culture and jointness in perspective and attempts to intertwine the two to achieve better integration of the services. Strategic culture may be just one of the view points from which jointness is examined; there are many others such as legacy, organizational theory and so on. Some suggestions to
        overcome cultural barriers have been provided. An act of parliament may be the ultimate weapon which can bring about services jointness, as it happened in the United States. Given the slow process of legislation, even this may go on interminably in India. Thus reviewing cultural proclivities to resistance to transformation may be an alternate
        option. _

      • 1. Rodney Jones, India’s Strategic Culture. Accessed at: publications/comparitive_strategic_cultures_curriculum/case%20studies/ India%20(Jones)%20final%2031%20Oct.pdf on 23 June 2007.
      • 2. . Scott Sagan, The Origins of Military Doctrine and Command and Control, in Peter Lavoy, et al, Planning the Unthinkable, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, p. 30.
      • 3. Ibid. N. 2.
      • 4. Elizabeth Kier, Imagining War, quoted in Scott Sagan, n. 2, p. 30.
      • 5. Scott, n. 2, p. 42
      • 6. Jones, n. 1.
      • 7. Sumit Ganguly, ‘Indian Strategic Culture’. Abstracts of Paper presented at the AAS Annual Meeting, March 11-14, 1999, Boston, MA. At htm accessed on June 1, 2007.
      • 8. Kanti P. Bajpai, and Amitabh Mattoo, (Eds.), Securing India: Strategic Thought and Practice, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi. 1996.
      • 9. Jones, n 1
      • 10. . George K. Tanham, Indian Strategic Thought: An Interpretive Essay, Rand: Santa Monica, 1992, p. 18.
      • 11. Jones, n.1.
      • 12. Tanham, n. 10
      • 13. . Ibid
      • 14. R. Shamanastry, (transl.), Kautilya’s Arthashastra, Mysore Printing and Publishing. Mysore, 1967.
      • 15. . J.G. Nadkarni, ‘India’s forces must join or perish’. Accessed at 2000/jun/08nadkar.htm, on June 16, 2007.
      • 16. . Scott Sagan, n 2, p. 18
      • 17. Commander Central Command Admiral William J Fallon and Deputy Commander Vice Admiral David C Nichols. Accessed at on 21 June 2007.
      • 18. Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times interview with former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy
      • 19. Nadkarni, n. 15.
      • 20. General K. V. Krishna Rao, Prepare or Perish: A Study of National Security, Lancer Publishers, New Delhi, 1991.
      • 21. . Ministry of Defence Press Release. Accessed at on June 18, 2007
      • 22. Kier. N 4. P 31
      • 23. Arun Prakash, Evolution of the Joint Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and Defence of Our Island Territories (Part I). USI JOURNAL, VOLUME CXXXlI 2002. Accessed at http:// on 16 June
      • 24. Defence Minister’s Statement on the Implementation of the Reports of The Standing Committee on Defence, accessed at in May 2007.
      • 25. Prakash, n. 23.
      • 26. . D.D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, William Heinemann: London, 1949, p 247.
    Jointmanship Jointmanship in the Defence Forces : The Way Ahead August 2007 B. S. Sachar


    The experience of our Armed Forces during various conflicts has not been a happy one in terms of jointmanship. Each Service has viewed war fighting from its own perspective thus lacking a holistic approach to problems of defence and security. The Kargil crisis of 1999 provided the required political consensus to initiate the desired restructuring of the higher defence organisation and raising of joint structures. Based on the Group of Ministers report, a Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS) was set up in 2001 to provide a single point, tri- Service, military advice to the government. This was followed by the setting up of two integrated commands -- Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and Strategic Forces Command (SFC) -- which were to serve as test-beds for raising more such joint structures. These tri- Service organizations have taken root and are endeavouring to bring about emotional integration and purple thinking in the Defence Forces1.

    A modest beginning has thus been made but the road to focused jointmanship is a long one. The three Services continue to remain engaged in turf battles and are unable to shed their individualistic white, green and blue mind-set, and go ‘purple’. They compete with each other fiercely for what they perceive as their core interests; be it creation of new formations, increase in higher ranks, or their share of the budgetary cake. This stems from apparent fear and mistrust, particularly amongst the smaller Services, that a unified structure may hamper their individual Service growth plans and shrink budgetary allocations. Their rivalry prevents them from having a clout in important security forums and in taking a unified position on key policy issues affecting the Defence Forces2.

    An enhanced level of jointness amongst the three services is a prerequisite for the future. Modern warfare necessitates waging battles in an integrated manner with structures created to support such a strategy. The creation of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) seems unlikely in the near future. In the interim HQ IDS which is now well entrenched, should be allowed to chart and steer the course to true jointmanship with the three Services remaining on board.


    There is consensus of opinion in the higher ranks of the military that desired level of integration may perhaps be unachievable in the absence of an overarching entity like the CDS. The CDS system has been implemented in 64 countries, including China, and India too will eventually have to adopt it. In the meanwhile, lateral integration should be continued and necessary joint structures created, to affect economy and efficiency. The debate on the extent to which jointness is to be achieved and in what manner is unending. The Indian mindset is not given to radical changes, therefore no drastic transformation as ushered in by the Goldwater-Nichols Act in the US Armed Forces can ever be implemented. Instead, a phased implementation of a carefully thoughtout strategy of jointness, with a well articulated vision and time lines, is the need of the hour.

    To achieve jointness, a ‘Top Down’ or a ‘Bottoms Up’ approach should be adopted. It would however, be preferable in a force as large as ours to execute both the approaches simultaneously. This will not only accelerate the process, but also change attitudinal biases that are a major barrier in the way of jointmanship. It would be useful to identify areas which need integration and then work out a methodology for implementation. The wholehearted support of the Services, particularly the Service heads would be essential, as integration would entail sacrificing resources presently within the respective fold of each Service, for the common goal.


    There are a number of areas where the three Services can pool their resources and share assets instead of individually spending vast amount on duplicating each others’ facilities. The budgetary savings thus achieved can be used to acquire more quantities of modern and sophisticated resources. Some of the important areas which lend themselves for integration are highlighted in succeeding paragraphs.

    Integrated Logistics System: This is one area where a lot of progress can be made towards effective integration. Presently, medical, postal, works services, movement control, quality assurance, defence land, military farms and CSD are already integrated and functioning well. However, the prospect of bringing many more such areas under
    joint fold exists. An integrated joint logistics system would reduce the requirement of holding large single Service inventories of common items. A common logistic nomenclature and number code for the inventory of all the three Services and other agencies connected with material management should be evolved. Bringing about a joint approach towards development and acquisition of common equipment and weapon platforms like helicopters, communication equipment, radars, missile and electronic warfare systems would lead to optimisation in terms of budgetary support and R&D effort. It would also ensure interoperability and commonality of training and logistics. The three Services have separate logistic facilities in a number of stations which can be easily combined. For example, the staff cars and other vehicles of the three Service headquarters and HQ IDS in Delhi can be placed under one organization with a common repair facility.

    Joint Training: It is envisioned that joint training will play a major role in tri-Service integration and convergence of mind. Emphasis on jointness must start early and continue to be stressed throughout the career span of officers. The end state of joint training should be that senior commanders and staff officers comprehend the capabilities and limitations of each Service. This will enable them to effectively employ the resources of all the Services jointly, to achieve the desired aim. Some recommendations for joint training are as under:

    1. The training year of the three Services must be synchronized. The Army training schedule runs from 1 July to 30 June, the Air Force from 1 April to 31 March and the Navy from 1 January to 31 December. If full synchronization cannot be achieved sufficient overlap should be created to enable joint training to be conducted3.
    2. It is recommended that once in three years, a major joint exercise should be conducted involving all the three Services. This will provide appointments at various levels in the three Services the required expertise of planning and conducting
      joint operations
    3. HQIDS should work towards the early establishment of the Indian National Defence University (NDU) which can advance jointmanship. It should also issue annual joint training directive and joint training doctrines and concepts to synergize effectiveness of the three Services at the tactical, operational and strategic levels.
    4. Joint training facilities should be set up for common weapon systems, vehicles and equipment to reduce duplication of effort, bring in standardization of training and expose personnel to each others’ Service culture and professionalism. Joint training institutions should also be set up for imparting training on common subjects like Electronic Warfare and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare.

    Air Defence and Air Space Management: Air space no longer remains the exclusive domain of the Air Force. Air defence and air space management have in essence become very intricate. There has been an unprecedented proliferation in the number of users with the introduction of unarmed aerial vehicles, helicopters and aircraft of the three services, long range artillery, missiles and aircraft of various civil airlines. It is therefore, vital that an integrated joint Service organization be put in place to control and monitor the air space. This would necessitate commonality in the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence and Inter-operability (C4 I2) systems of all the three Services.

    Operational and Functional Commands: The geographical zones of responsibilities of various operational Commands of the three Services have no perceptible commonality. In most cases, the Command of one service overlaps or is linked with two or three Commands of the other two Services. None of the Commands are co-located, leading to lack of coordination in intelligence sharing, planning and conduct of operations. If we have a war in the West for example, the Army Commander will be in Pune, the Naval Commander in Mumbai and Air Force Commander in Ahmedabad. The establishment of the two tri- Service Commands should ideally have generated a debate on the requirement of Integrated Theatre Commands and Integrated Functional Commands. All single Service Commands should gradually evolve into either Integrated Theatre Commands on the lines of ANC or Integrated Functional Commands on the lines of the SFC.

    Communications: Keeping in mind the challenges of the envisaged security environment it is imperative for the Services to be interoperable. This can be possible only through a secure, reliable and robust defence communication network interconnecting the three Services at various functional levels. A viable communication system promoting interaction at all levels and synergizing efforts towards a common goal is the backbone for jointness. The work on a common media and interoperable communication system has commenced and when fully in place, will augment decision making and compatibility.

    International Military Cooperation (IMC): There is today a gradual recognition of the importance and value of international defence and military cooperation as a foreign policy tool. At present, each Service HQ has got a separate foreign cooperation cell/directorate with an International Affairs Division at HQ IDS for planning and conducting IMC. There is very little interaction and coordination between them and the
    Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). This leads to bottlenecks in planning IMC activities and the projection of a common face to foreign delegations. The military establishments of most countries of the world follow an integrated approach to boost cooperation. There is therefore, a requirement to give more teeth to HQ IDS by posting of additional staff and delegating appropriate powers from the MoD to enable a better response from the Services. A JS (International Affairs) from the MEA and an official from the MoD should be posted to HQ IDS to create a single window for IMC. A separate fund for IMC should also be instituted under the defence budget and HQ IDS should be empowered to spend it within laid down parameters. The reorganised International Affairs Division at HQ IDS will then be able to plan and conduct IMC in a coordinated and effective manner.


    Personnel policy is based on the individual requirement of each Service. Joint staff appointments and duties do not play a significant role in the career profile of an officer4. This at times, results in under manning as well as posting of unsuitable officers at key posts in HQ IDS, ANC and the SFC. There is also inhibition amongst officers to serve in a joint Services environment due to the disparity in the appraisal system of each Service. It is essential that these tri-Service organisations be given full support by posting officers with a good career profile. It should gradually be made obligatory for all officers to have held at least one joint appointment in a tri-Service HQ before being considered eligible for consideration for promotion to the one star rank and above, as is the practice in the US. A common appraisal system should be adopted for officers serving in joint Services organisations/institutions to protect their career interests. A separate category of Honours & Awards for distinguished service in tri-Service institutions/establishments should also be instituted. It is essential that HQ IDS approves postings of critical appointments in the tri-Service organisations to ensure that the laid down career profile is not diluted.


    In the absence of the CDS, the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman (COSC) (CISC) should be the prime mover in implementing functional jointness within the Services. HQ IDS is striving to coordinate the activities of the three Services and put up a joint face at important forums. Those who have been in the organisation are convinced that it has a lot of potential. The resistance of the three Services to part
    with resources and functions is however, proving to be a major bottleneck. Planning, budgeting and operations continue to largely remain single Service roles. HQ IDS needs to play a key role in formulating joint doctrines and concepts, long term integrated perspective plan, progressively reduce duplication in training, logistics and maintenance and implement joint staffing in all three Services. It also needs to set inter-Service prioritisation of capital schemes, make up critical deficiencies in force capabilities and seek resources for joint exploitation of space. HQ IDS should also formulate Joint doctrines for Special Forces and amphibious operations and coordinate joint response for out of area contingencies.

    The COSC is the apex forum where the Services come together and the Chairman COSC acts as the ‘rotational CDS’ to some extent. Despite marginal strengthening of the COSC since September 2001, by giving it a few enhanced roles and functions, it continues to be plagued by ills which are inherent in a committee. The consensus driven ‘committee system’ is antiquated and unsuited for quick and decisive action. As decisions and recommendations are sought to be based on ‘consensus’, in the interest of tri-service camaraderie, there is an inevitable temptation to shelve contentious issues. It is usual for a Chairman to get tenure of about a year or so. This is too short a period to allow meaningful formulation, initiation and direction of any long term policy. Till the time the CDS is sanctioned, there is a need to enhance the effectiveness of COSC. This can be done by having a fixed tenure for the Chairman and giving him veto powers so as to be able to take important decisions in the overall interests of the Defence Forces. He should also have direct access to the Defence Minister and represent the Services in joint forums within and outside the country.


    Integration of SHQ with MoD should transcend nomenclatures, cut out duplication, decentralize decision making and devolve financial powers. Joint staffing throughout MoD by Service and civilian officers should be the norm. Financial advisers must work under SHQ and act as advisers not controllers5. Cross-posting of Service officers to MEA, Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) andNational Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) which has already commenced, should be reciprocated by posting of civilian officers to Service HQ and HQ IDS and subsequently even to the Theatre/Functional Commands, when raised. In addition, there is a need for the MoD to respect proposals moved by the three Services that have been analysed in great detail, at different levels and are an organizational necessity.


    The nature of modern and future wars makes it imperative to fight in an integrated manner. True jointmanship would lead to synergized military effectiveness and maximisation of combat power. Major spin offs like taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by RMA and out of area intervention capabilities will automatically accrue. The day may not be far when India may have to use its Defence Forces as part of a joint coalition to deal with emerging regional security threats. This will only be possible if the three Services are sufficiently integrated.

    While acknowledging the separate identity of each Service and respecting the divergence of views, it is essential to remain careful that for short term parochial gains, the long-term interests of the defence forces and the nation are not sacrificed. Loyalty to the Service should not surpass the common interests at large. The three Services must work in a decidedly cohesive manner and exhibit a unified approach. A beginning has been made by projecting a joint requirement to the Sixth Central Pay Commission unlike separate projections in the past. The joint response to disaster management during Tsunami was also creditable. The release of India’s first Joint Doctrine in May 2006 marks a major step towards integration and interoperability among the three Services.

    CISC and HQ IDS have an important role to play in bringing about a greater degree of jointmanship till the time the CDS is sanctioned by the government. Lateral integration to reduce duplicity of organizations and establishments must be continued. Tangible goals should be kept to ensure that the required pace of restructuring and transformation is maintained. There must also be a positive attitudinal change amongst the Service HQ to make the joint structures truly and fully functional. The three Services must appreciate that success in future wars will go to the military which is best able to synergize the application of combat potential of all resources of the land, sea and aerospace._

    • 1. . Arun Prakash, Inaugural Address, College of Defence Management Seminar on Jointness in the Armed Forces, November 2006
    • 2. P.S. Joshi, Implications of Jointness in Synergistic Management Of War, College of Defence Management Seminar on Jointness in the Armed Forces, November 2006.
    • 3. R.C. Tiwari, Concept of Jointness and its Relevance in Achieving Synergy for National Security Management, College of Defence Management Seminar on Jointness in the Armed Forces, November 2006
    • 4. Satish Uniyal, Military Jointness Implementation Strategy, College of Defence Management Seminar on Jointness in the Armed Forces, November 2006.
    • 5. George Mathai, Military Jointness: Implementation Strategy, College of Defence Management Seminar on Jointness in the Armed Forces, November 2006.
    Jointmanship, Defence
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    What is Master of Defence studies? ›

    The degree Master of Defence Studies investigates the relationships between the Profession of Arms and National Security policies.

    What is the medical term IDSA? ›

    The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) represents physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases.

    Is IDSA a non profit? ›

    The IDSA Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the nation's leading nonprofit dedicated exclusively to growing, developing and empowering the essential field of ID medicine.

    What is the IDSA definition of Pyuria? ›

    Pyuria, defined as white blood cells (WBC) in the urine, is also commonly seen in individuals with neurogenic bladder dysfunction and especially in catheterized patients. However, in the catheterized patient, pyuria alone is not diagnostic of either asymptomatic bacteriuria or CAUTI.

    Who is the past president of IDSA? ›

    Carlos del Rio

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