By Anupama Airy
“We are very keen on that….All the three service chiefs are looking at it very positively and are of the view that we integrate with each other more often and give an impetus to jointmanship,” Gen Rawat said.
In a lighter vein, Gen Rawat also said laughing, “You will first see us watching movies together…Let everyone be happy seeing the three chiefs walk together to a movie hall and see that socially we are together.”
On a more serious note he added that the three services have to work in an integrated manner. “Indian Armed Forces are steadily progressing towards Integration. You will see that very soon…I will come back to you later as I have already discussed with the Navy and Air Force Chief and they are in agreement,” said Gen Rawat.
A beginning has already been made when the recently concluded TROPEX -2017, a large scale exercise by the Indian Navy, saw the joint presence of both Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Army Chief Bipin Rawat. Both Chiefs witnessed the firing of Brahmos missile from INS Chennai, surface-to-air missile engagement during exercise Tropex 2017.
TROPEX-2017 (or Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise) that lasted for a month was a great show of combined strength of Indian Armed Forces and saw Indian Navy firing Brahmos Surface to Surface missile (SSM) from INS Chennai, besides a host of other exercises that included Gunnery shoots and combined fleet in a complex multi threat environment including sub surface and air threats.
The high-point of the exercise was Large Force Engagement (LFE) by the Fleet units against threat simulated by air element from Indian Air Force comprising AWACS, SU 30s, Jaguars and IL 78 (AAR). These threats emanated from different directions and were neutralised by using Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile capabilities of MiG 29Ks, the integral air arm of the Indian Navy, operating from INS Vikramaditya in coordination with other Fleet units.
Asked if more such joint operations and exercises to be conducted in a complex environment were in the offing, Gen Rawat said, “Yes, you will see that soon.”
A senior serving General officer said, “War is a National effort and all arms of the nation are involved. Within that, future wars will be won by joint warfare by Army, Navy and Air Force. Therefore, jointness or integration of the three services when it comes to use of resources, co-ordination and joint operations is being stressed at the top most level.”
Whether it was at the Combined Commanders Conference in 2015 or the recent one in January 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid adequate stress on promoting jointness across every level of the Indian armed forces. “We wear different colours but we serve the same cause and bear the same flag…Jointness at the top is a need that is long overdue,” Modi had said at one of these conferences.
(The Full Text of Gen Bipin Rawat’s Interview will Be Available on February, 27, 2017 on defenceaviationpost.com)