Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address senior military commanders at the annual Combined Commanders Conference (CCC) later this month. This will be the first CCC for the three military chiefs, who took charge of the Navy, Air Force and Army last year, and is unlikely to be held in an operational area. Defence Ministry sources said the conference is likely to be held on January 21, with Dehradun as the most likely venue. The final announcement of the date and venue is expected next week.
Watch what else is making news:
While addressing his first CCC at Delhi in October 2014, Modi had suggested that the conference be held alternately at sea, in forward Army camps and at air bases, and not just in Delhi. On December 15, 2015, the conference was held on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya at sea, near the coast of Kochi.
For 2016, the Defence Ministry was considering venues in the Northeast, with Gangtok as the preferred option. Due to the busy schedule of the PM, the CCC could not be held last year, a first in many years. The forthcoming CCC, which will not be in a forward Army area, could technically be the last year’s conference being held this year, but there is no clarity about the same.
The change of venue from the Northeast is significant as hosting a senior military conference so close to the Chinese border could have been interpreted as sending a signal to Beijing. According to Army officials, the deciding factor in the change of venue was the logistical issues associated with hosting such a conference in the Northeast.
CCC is an annual event, usually held between September and December, where the PM addresses the seniormost commanders of the three services, along with senior officials of defence ministry. This will be the first CCC with new chiefs for all three services: Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba took over on May 31, while General Bipin Rawat and Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa took over as chiefs on the last day of 2016.
Defence modernisation, relations with Pakistan following the surgical strikes across the Line of Control last September, security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and higher defence reforms are some of the topics likely to be discussed in the forthcoming conference.