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'India won't copy western system of joint theatre command'

New Delhi

01-January-2020

The Indian military will not copy the western system of joint theatre command and will work out a system of its own, said General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday after taking charge as the country's first Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).

General Rawat said that he will strive to integrate the three services in three years.

Donning a new uniform, General Rawat inspected a tri-services Guard of Honour before taking charge as CDS.

Talking about his priorities, he said: "What I have gathered that the task of the CDS is cut out. That all three services have to be together to be capable."

General Rawat also stressed that the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy will work as a team. "CDS will keep control, it is not that CDS wants to run a force on his own. All three services cannot work on the formula that their the sum total of three energies translates into 'Three'. It has to be much more maybe 5-7."

He said that the CDS have to achieve more through synergy and integration.

"We have to have best economical use of resources, we will focus on integration. We can do training jointly. Procurement procedure can be made uniform. We have to see how we can integrate the three forces," he stressed.

Talking about the CDS being given responsibility of three new joint organisations, General Rawat said: "When I took over as Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, these organisations were already under CoSC. We are having three joint organisations we are working on it."

He also said that CDS is part of Strategic Force Command which will look on nuclear weapons.

On a lighter note when asked about his reaction over being country's first CDS, General Rawat said : "My head is feeling lighter. I have taken off the angled Gorkha hat that I wore for 42 years. I am wearing a peaked cap, it shows the CDS will remain neutral to all three services and my head is feeling lighter."

On challenges the Indian armed forces are facing at the Line of Actual Control on the China front, he said that all challenges would be dealt with through integration and synergy.

He also stressed that striving for joint theatre command will be his mandate. "Methods of theaterisation can be different. We don't need to follow the western model, we can have our own way. We need to study with all three services. We will have our own system that suits us," General Rawat added.

When asked about political parties questioning his political inclinations, General Rawat said: "We are far away from politics. We work as per directions of government of the day."

Congress on Tuesday raised questions over the appointment of General Rawat as the CDS saying the government had started on the "wrong foot" on the issue.

In a series of tweets, party spokesperson Manish Tewari said only time would reveal the implications of the move. "With great regret and fullest of responsibility may I say that the Govt has started on a very wrong foot with regard to CDS. Time alone unfortunately will reveal the implications of this decision," he said on Twitter.

General Rawat demitted office as Army Chief on December 31, 2019.IANS