Even as the government is moving towards creating theatre commands, the Department of Military Affairs is working towards creating a culture of integration among the forces for which many steps have been taken and many are in the pipeline.

To further strengthen integration and jointness among the defence forces, many steps have been taken like the decision to have cross postings of personnel in other services, holding of joint exercises and joint staffing in organisations, the senior government officials said.

"The forces will soon see the three services chiefs having personal staff from other services to help them carry out their tasks on a daily basis to promote the integration of the three services," they said.

Many other steps have been taken like bringing personnel from all three services on par in terms of giving admissions in schools run by respective services.

"Earlier, for example, a school run by the navy gave first priority to wards of its personnel while Defence Ministry civilians were given second priority and Army and Air Force personnel were kept after them," the officials said.

"Now the wards of personnel from all three services would be in the first priority category and this would be applicable in schools run by all three services," they said. Similarly, the institutes like the Kota House or Army or Air Force Golf Course in the national capital would give memberships to their personnel only but now they would be open to all the personnel, they said. The officials said over the years, the services had developed infrastructure and systems for their service-specific requirements only but now this culture of integration has to be created as the country moves towards creating theatre commands which will have personnel from all three services fighting the wars of the future jointly.

The government took a critical step in increasing jointness among the forces by appointing a Chief of Defence Staff.

CDS General Anil Chauhan and the three services chiefs have been working towards creating three theatre commands and discussions are progressing to raise them within this financial year.

The Department of Military Affairs headed by the CDS is responsible for the task under the Defence Ministry.

The forces have also decided that all the major future exercises will be held jointly with participation from all three services.

The acquisition procedure for the Predator drones from the US was also done in a joint way by the forces with tri-services Integrated Defence Staff handling the case and deciding on the numbers to be acquired for the surveillance of the entire country.

Many more critical acquisitions for future weapon systems to be procured mostly from indigenous sources would be led by the tri-services IDS only to optimise the expenditure for procurement and maintenance.

Officials said the DMA and the three services would be taking many more such steps to achieve the desired level of jointness among the forces.