With national security as its top priority, the Indian Armed Forces are working towards the creation of three new unified commands to handle threats and challenges in the area of space, cyberspace and special operations. All the three services are working towards creating a cyber, aerospace and special operations commands which will synergize their operations.
The three services that consist of the army, air force and navy will be finalizing a formal joint proposal once the top brass of each of the services’ have finalized the details. Once the proposal is drafted, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne will push the proposal for clearance from the government.IAF Chief Browne is also the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee.
While the top brass of the three services are busy finalizing the cyber, aerospace and special operations commands, the issue of three new commands will be taken up during the Combined Commanders’ Conference to be addressed by the Prime Minister on October 19. The need to make the scattered special forces of the three services more cohesive and create a unified command and control structure to execute strategic operations is being considered imperative to gear up for battles in space and cyberspace.
At present, there is a prevalent opinion that a three-star Army officer vis-à-vis a Lt. General must head the Special Operations Command. Similarly, an equivalent rank from IAF like an Air Marshal can head the Aerospace Command and the Cyber Command should be headed by a Vice-Admiral from the Navy.
The above-mentioned categorization and division assumes significance since each force has its own unique capabilities which can be fully utilized in the context of the new commands. Therefore, the categorizations will create the necessary synergy since Indian Army specializes in special operations, the IAF in aerospace and the Indian Navy in cyber and information technology. Sources added that the commands will draw elements, assets and manpower from all the three services as well as the government below the three-stars.
Meanwhile, India like other countries is taking threats of cyber warfare seriously and trying to ensure that its forces are ready to battle in space and cyberspace. Indian government must address the issue at the earliest in order avoid a potential cyber-attack by a terrorist group and jeopardize its national security.
According to reports the Indian government has been trying to beef up its policing of cyberspace, and plans to build a National Cyber Coordination Centre to detect malicious cyber-attacks and issue early warning alerts. In fact, the establishment of a cyber-command centre within the Defence forces is also proposed which will be equipped with defensive and offensive cyber weapons and staff trained in cyber warfare.