‘Achieving joint-ness and integration is a continuous process and it is work in progress. A lot has been done, is being done and is yet to be done’
HQ IDS and the office of the CISC were created in September 2001. What has been accomplished since then?
After the Kargil operations of 1999, the Group of Ministers led by Lal Krishna Advani visualised a need for greater joint-ness and synergy among the Services. It was also felt that the Services HQ must be integrated with the ministry of defence. HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) was raised to meet these needs. From then till now, HQ IDS has taken significant strides towards achieving these objectives. It has become a pivotal link between the three Services as well as between the Services and the ministry of defence on all tri-services issues.
HQ IDS and the office of the CISC have facilitated, over the years, significant improvements in the fields of Tri-Services procurements, force structuring and capability development, sharing of intelligence, joint training, strategy and doctrine formulation, conduct of joint exercises in India and abroad and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, establishment of Defence Space and Cyber Agencies and Special Operations Division, etc.
Today, there is greater interaction between the ministry and Services and between the Services; there’s better response to each other. HQ IDS can claim some part of the credit for this positive development.
What all has been achieved by the IDS in developing and strengthening joint-ness amongst the Services?
Promoting joint-ness, synergy and integration is the mantra for the IDS. There has been significant progress in this direction since the raising of IDS.
HQ IDS is now a key catalyst in synergising the modernisation and force structuring efforts of the three Services. It has a vital role to play in prioritisation and actualisation of defence procurement at the policy as well as execution levels.
HQ IDS has ushered in greater joint-ness in the fields of intelligence, training, logistics, communications, military aspects of space and cyber domains, maintenance, testing and repair of common equipment, etc. We have coordinated conduct of tri-Services exercises in India and abroad. Recent conduct of Ex-Indra 2017, which was the first tri-Services exercise to be held abroad, is an apt example. We have also been conducting joint HADR exercises with participation by all three Services and civilian stakeholders periodically in various locations in the country.
Achieving joint-ness and integration is a continuous process and it is work in progress. A lot has been done, is being done and is yet to be done. In recent past, this issue has received more impetus after the Prime Minister’s directions during the Combined Commanders’ Conference this year.
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