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Govt introduces bill in Lok Sabha to strengthen tri-services commanders’ powers

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


Source: AIR

Context: The Union Defence Ministry has introduced the Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023 in Lok Sabha.


Background: The bill comes ahead of the impending move to establish integrated or joint commands →  all the assets of the tr-services → operational control of a single three-star general.


How do Indian armed forces operate currently?

  • India currently has only two unified commands, the A&N Command (2001) and the Strategic Forces Command (2003) to handle the country’s nuclear arsenal.
  • These were set up in and after the Kargil conflict with Pakistan in 1999.
  • There are also some tri-service organisations like the Defence Intelligence Agency, Defence Cyber Agency, Defence Space Agency, etc.
  • In contrast, there are as many as 17 single-service commands (Army 7, IAF 7 and Navy 3), which have little connection in planning and operations as well as command-and-control structures.
  • At present, military personnel are governed by different acts (the Air Force Act, 1950, the Army Act, 1950 and the Navy Act, 1957) and rules of their own respective services.


Compared with China:

  • China re-organised its 2.3-million People’s Liberation Army into five theatre commands in 2016 to boost offensive capabilities.
  • For example, its Western Theatre Command handles the entire 3,488-km Line of Actual Control from eastern Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.
  • India has four Armies and three IAF commands for the northern borders’ with China.


The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023:

Key provisions of the Bill:

  • The central government may constitute an Inter-services Organisation, which may include a Joint Services Command.
  • Empowers the Commander-in-Chief/the Officer-in Command of Inter-Services Organisations to maintain discipline and ensure proper discharge of duties of all the personnel from the army, navy and IAF serving under his command.
  • The Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command of an Inter-services Organisation shall be the head of such Inter-services Organisation.



  • Enabling legislation for joint services organisations (where personnel from all tri-services are posted), without amending the respective Acts.
  • It will ensure –
    • An officer from any one service can now exercise direct command over personnel from the other two services.
    • Requisite command and control of the existing inter-services organisations as well as the proposed integrated theatre commands to be created in the coming months.


Insta Links:

CDS must proceed with caution