India strengthens joint military command with new inter-services law

Team India Sentinels Friday 10th of May 2024 02:31 PM

The Indian triservices insignia. (Creative Commons photo by KC Velaga)

New Delhi: In a move seen as a step towards greater integration of its armed forces, the government has notified the Inter-Services Organizations (Command, Control & Discipline) Act, bringing it into effect from Friday, May 10, 2024.

The act empowers the commanders in chief and officers in command of inter-services organizations (ISOs) to exercise control over service personnel from the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force who are deployed under their command. This aims to streamline administration and discipline within these joint units, fostering better cooperation between the services.

The legislation comes amid the government’s ongoing “theaterization” plan, which seeks to create integrated military commands focused on specific geographical regions. This model, already employed by several major powers, is intended to improve operational efficiency and resource allocation by breaking down traditional service silos.

It may be noted that earlier, as India Sentinels had reported, the government had implemented a common evaluation process for promotion and posting of senior officers in the Army, Navy, and the Air Force. It was implemented for two-star (major general and equivalent) and three-star (lieutenant general and equivalent) officers.

The Inter-Services Organizations Act ensures that service personnel deployed to these unified commands will fall under the authority of the ISO commander, regardless of their individual service affiliation. This eliminates the need for separate disciplinary procedures for each branch, potentially expediting decision-making and fostering a more cohesive fighting force.

While the new law streamlines command structures, it assures that the unique service conditions of each branch, such as pay and career progression, will remain unaffected.

The defence minister, Rajnath Singh, has welcomed the new law’s notification. He said it “empowers the heads of ISOs and paves the way for expeditious disposal of cases, avoiding multiple proceedings and contributing to greater integration and jointness among the armed forces.”

Experts believe this legislation is a crucial step towards achieving true jointmanship within the Indian military. However, some caution remains regarding the successful implementation of the act, particularly concerning potential challenges in integrating service cultures and traditions.

The long-term impact of the Inter-Services Organizations Act will depend on its execution within the framework of the broader theaterization plan. If successful, this reform could significantly enhance the country’s military preparedness and responsiveness in the face of evolving security threats.


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