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N. Jeykumaran asked: How effective is the new Joint Armed Forces Doctrine of India? What are the likely challenges ahead?

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  • Vivek Chadha replies: The attempt at releasing a public copy of the joint doctrine must be commended for the challenges that it possibly faced. Given the strong views of individual services, the ability to bring out a document that ably encapsulates the same and yet avoids dissonance was the very challenge that the writers unfortunately did not entirely succeed in achieving. The doctrine represents the common minimum agreement of the services on a set of common guidelines, which rarely goes beyond text book fundamentals. As a result, the biggest achievement of the doctrine also becomes its greatest weakness, wherein, it fails to provide a cogent and concrete strategic direction for the three services to follow.

    Having said that, the doctrine is by no means a reflection of the capability of the armed forces to deliver on their objectives, which has been proved beyond doubt in conventional, sub-conventional and out-of-area contingency operations. To that extent the purpose of the doctrine to act as a guideline becomes unrelated to how the services are likely to pursue their joint and individual goals. Therefore, the major challenge that the formulation of the doctrine presents is the inability of the three services to create a common vision and direction.

    Posted on May 14, 2018

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