Reviewing the Military’s Joint Doctrine

A Disjointed Doctrine

The recently released joint doctrine of the armed forces outlines the manner in which they expect to fight the next war. Though the doctrine suggests “decisive victory” is possible, it bears reminding that the closer they get to this the closer would be the nuclear threshold. Since the doctrine does not dwell on the nuclear level, it cannot be said that the doctrine makes India any safer. However, the doctrine’s take on civil–military relations is far more interesting. 

The second edition of the joint doctrine of the Indian armed forces was released in April 2017. Admiral Sunil Lanba, current Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (Ch COSC), states in its foreword that it is intended as a reference document for the academia and citizens, among others. Therefore, unlike its earlier edition in 2006, this is thankfully not a confidential document. Nevertheless, it has not been put up on the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS) website. For the sake of discussion here, the doctrine has instead had to be downloaded from a website run by a journalist known to be the cheerleader of the former defence minister.1

This is in keeping with the past practice of doctrinal reticence on part of the HQ IDS. Though its webpage2 has a cache of links to Western military doctrines, it carries links to the only two Indian army doctrines in the open domain: its flagship doctrine and another one on sub-conventional operations. It has not placed its own non-confidential Joint Doctrine for Sub Conventional Operations (HQ IDS 2012) on the webpage.

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Updated On : 26th May, 2017

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