About the author

Nitin A. Gokhale

Author, thought leader and one of South Asia's leading strategic analysts, Nitin A. Gokhale has forty years of rich and varied experience behind him as a conflict reporter, Editor, author and now a media entrepreneur who owns and curates two important digital platforms, BharatShakti.in and StratNewsGlobal.com focusing on national security, strategic affairs and foreign policy matters. At the beginning of his long and distinguished career, Gokhale has lived and reported from India’s North-east for 23 years, writing and analysing various insurgencies in the region, been on the ground at Kargil in the summer of 1999 during the India-Pakistan war, and also brought live reports from Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV between 2006-2009.

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  1. Vinod

    It’s a shit. What is this reducing camera crew and putting contingent!! Do you think this is jointness??? Go men check others US , China , Russia ..you will be able to see jointnesss. Its simply jointnesss in ceremonies…hahHaha

  2. Sudarshan Shrikhande

    The analysis, above, by Mr Gokhale provides room for optimism that the framework for joint theatres finally seems to be taking shape, even if it is still probably two years away. Nearly four years ago, on this portal, I had suggested that integration should be seen as an input, mainly at levels in New Delhi in terms of Service HQs, HQIDS, MOD and other agencies and ministries, in hyphenated lines and that jointness be seen as a warfighting output that now looks at multi-dimensional strategic planning and operational execution and that CDS, by whatever nomenclature, should be the de facto CDF with a VCDS and VCDF. The first of a series of three articles originally uploaded on 20 Aug 2019 is linked.
    (https://bharatshakti.in/cds-from-infighting-to-warfighting-from-integration-to-jointness/.) The thought is repeated here: “Eventually, the CDS and his HQs, with the active lateral frameworks linked to SHQs and of course the JTCs, should be in primary charge of the application of national military force in its multiple dimensions. This process could be completed during the tenure of the second CDS in say, a six-year span that allows for reduced interim disruption in case of a sudden conflict and the orchestrated settling- in of the various JTCs and functional commands.” It could have been accomplished earlier, but given various objections, turf issues, etc., six years had been suggested. So, the period the EIC of Bharatshakti explains above as “15-20 months away” might be nearly five years from the 15 Aug 2019 announcement by the PM and seems a deliberate process. In any case, the Theatre commands that come up may be tweaked in due course as has happened elsewhere including in India itself within single-Services’ commands over decades. Neither policies, strategies nor organisational charts profit by being etched in stone.
    On smaller issues, there is both, cause for hope and some concern. That issues of inter-service regulations about conduct and discipline are being passed through a Bill (as for the Army/Navy/Air Force Acts done much earlier) is a good step but one suggests that its absence was not really a deal-breaker for jointness because that would be overstating the problem. However, I am not so certain of the “symbolic” jointness which has been thought about. Of course, symbols are an integral part of a soldier’s and nation’s ethos, but there is a problem in taking symbolism further than necessary. Those in uniform should not automatically conflate symbols and symbolism. On the face of it, say, a naval photo team in Bhopal for the CCC as mentioned above, may seem a good idea. But, if we think a bit deeper, then one of the purposes of joint logistics and smarter administration is to get more efficiency by reducing time, manpower and costs spent on an activity like sending a naval photo detachment from somewhere far away. Why would a small photo team from the considerable Army resources available in Bhopal itself not have sufficed for the simple task of taking photographs and recording an event for posterity?
    Could there be a problem of more and more effort and imagination being put into the symbolism of jointness at the expense of substance? The cliché of ‘low-hanging fruits’ should be minimised because there are a lot of serious issues to be resolved, which it is reassuring to know seem to be underway. It is important, however, that we continue to value our symbols but reduce symbolism and keep up the effort to move from “infighting to warfighting” as the title of the 2019 article modestly suggested.
    Sudarshan Shrikhande, IN (Retd)


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