NEW DELHI: A few jawans, sailors and airmen for the first time will take part in one of the sessions of the top-level combined commanders’ conference (CCC) to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week.
The PM will review the operational situation on the China and Pakistan fronts as well as the progress towards setting up tri-Service integrated commands and structures during the CCC, which is being held with all top commanders of the Army, Navy and IAF at Kevadia in Gujarat from March 4 to 6.
“The inclusion of JCOs, NCOs (junior-commissioned and non-commissioned officers) and other ranks for a session on `Morale and Motivation’ is an innovative step,” said an officer on Wednesday.
“The PM will interact with them during the session, which will be held on March 6, and listen to their views on morale and motivation in the military and the day-to-day functioning on the ground in the three Services,” he added.
Since taking over as the PM in 2014, Modi has pushed for the armed forces to organize meets like the CCC on warships at sea, military cantonments or airbases, instead of restricting them to New Delhi only.
Consequently, the CCC was held on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off Kochi in 2015, while it was conducted at the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun in 2017 and the Jodhpur airbase in 2018.
This year’s CCC, near Sardar Patel’s statue of unity at Kevadia, comes at a time when the troop disengagement on both sides of the Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh with China has been completed. But there are as yet no signs of any de-escalation at the other `friction points’ in Depsang Plains, Gogra, Hot Springs and Demchok.
India and Pakistan have also gone in for a fresh border ceasefire since February 24 after a particularly violent 2020, with artillery and firing duels between the rival armies breaking all annual records in the last 18 years.
The CCC will also take place ahead of the impending creation of two unified tri-Service commands in the shape of the “functional” Air Defence Command (ADC) and the “geographical” Maritime Theatre Command (MTC) this year, as was reported by TOI in December.
The two new unified commands, which are to be followed by theatre commands for the land borders with Pakistan and China, are part of the biggest-ever military restructuring plan to build an integrated land-air-sea war-fighting machinery within budgetary constraints.
As of now, India has as many as 17 single-service commands (Army 7, IAF 7 and Navy 3), with very little synergy in planning and operations as well as disjointed command-and-control structures.
The only two existing tri-Service commands came up after the 1999 Kargil conflict. The Andaman & Nicobar Command was set up as a “geographical” command in October 2001, while the “functional” Strategic Forces Command to handle the country’s nuclear arsenal came up in January 2003.