‘Indian military lacks IT-networking capability’

July 26th, 2011 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) Once again opposing the proposal for a five-star officer as the chief of defence staff (CDS), the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, said Tuesday the armed forces did not have the IT-networking capability to support such a system.

“CDS in its present form is not acceptable to me. I do not think that for the next five to 10 years, CDS is required in the Indian context,” Naik, who retires July 31, said at his farewell press conference here.

“At the present moment, we do not have the technology to have a CDS. The technology is coming up in the form of IACCS and other such systems. Once we have that technology, in five to 10 years, once again we can think if we need a CDS or not,” he added.

IACCS refers to the Integrated Air Command and Control System that the IAF is in the process of establishing and which will enable real time communications between top commanders and front-line units. The Indian Army and the Indian Navy are working on similar systems. Once all three are integrated, the armed forces will be said to have network-centric capabilities.

The creation of a CDS, a single-point adviser to the country’s political leadership on all matters military to ensure synergy of armed forces operations, was mooted by the K. Subrahmanyam committee that reviewed the deficiencies during the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.

As a prelude to the CDS, India had created the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters and appointed a three-star officer to act as an adviser to the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee (COSC), a panel the comprises the chiefs of the army, navy and air force.

Naik is the present chairman of COSC, being the senior-most military officer of the country.

Naik reasoned his opposition to the creation of the CDS by noting that Indian military operations will be restricted to the country’s shores and will not extend to thousands of miles, as is the case with the US’ operations, when theatre commanders are required to manage the wars.

“And synergy among the three services since 1947 has been extremely good,” he said, a key issue flagged by the Subrahmanyam committee.

“I do not wish to have a CDS in the present format, as it will be only an additional appendix. If at all CDS is to be formed, we have to decide if we require it. There has to be a national debate on this, as there are various models of CDS.

Naik had in a recent seminar on defence reforms openly voiced his opposition to the CDS. The government was yet to take a decision on the appointment, citing lack of political consensus.

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