Further strengthening operational preparedness along the China front from Arunachal Pradesh to the Indian Ocean Region, four operational commands of Indian defence forces came together to discuss steps to enhance jointness and integration amongst themselves to create a “stronger punch” against any misadventure by the northern adversary.

The four commands which have come together and are being called ‘Tetra’ include the Kolkata-based Eastern Army Command, Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Navy, Shillong-based Eastern Air Force and the country’s only operational tri-services Andaman and Nicobar Command based in Port Blair. The move by these commands is also being seen as a strong step towards the creation of integrated theatre commands as envisaged by the Narendra Modi government around three years ago with the setting up of the Department of Military Affairs and the office of Chief of Defence Staff.

The heads of these commands including Lt Gen R.P. Kalita, Vice Admiral B. Dasgupta, Air Marshal D.K. Patnaik and Lt Gen Ajai Singh had met last week in Shillong to discuss the ways to iron out all differences and hurdles in combining their efforts towards an integrated approach to tackle the challenges on the northern front, government sources said.

The four commands are responsible for the security of the country from Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast to the southernmost landmass of the country in the Andaman and Nicobar islands with the Bay of Bengal in the middle and all these areas have a common threat from the Chinese side and have been maintaining high-level operational preparedness in view of the military standoff with China which began two years ago.

The step backed by the respective headquarters of the three forces was an initiative of the Eastern Air Command which has been working closely with the Navy and Army counterparts to enhance preparedness. The Centre has also strengthened the northeastern region immensely in terms of force and infrastructure build-up in the last few years.

The region has seen the deployment of a squadron of Rafale fighter jets in Hashimara to support the Su-30MKI fighter fleet and planned induction of the S-400 air defence systems in the Assam sector in the next few weeks for the Air Force. The Army deployment has also been strengthened as the 17 Mountain Strike Corps has now been completely dedicated to offensive operations in the Northeast and it has been provided with an additional division to give it more powerful muscles. India and China have been engaged in a military standoff for the last two years now in the eastern Ladakh sector.

The talks between the two sides are on at the senior commanders’ level to resolve the issues but India is not taking any chances all along the Line of Actual Control to deter any misadventure by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.