IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Cross-posting in Army, Navy, IAF

19th June, 2023 Defence

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Indian Armed Forces are planning to go ahead with cross-service postings of a large number of senior officers in the ranks of Brigadier and Major General and equivalent shortly.

About the cross-service postings decision

  • The senior officers in the ranks of Brigadier and Major General and equivalent will be transferred to other services under the given move.
  • These officers would be transferred to missile units, for handling UAVs, and for logistics, repair and recovery and material and supplies management among other roles in the two other services.
  • Inter-service postings of a large batch of around 40 officers of the rank of Major and Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent were approved earlier.
  • Earlier, only a handful of such postings had taken place within the services.
  • Hence the decision was taken to further the earlier initiatives taken.

Advantages of the cross-service postings

  • Tri services integration: This will be in line with efforts towards tri-service integration of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • Theatre command: integration would pave the way for the planned creation of theatre commands.
  • Move towards future plans: There are plans to create two adversary-based theatre commands — one facing Pakistan and the other for China — and a third command to tackle threats in the maritime domain, from the 17 service-specific military commands currently operating under the three services. The move of cross services posting would augment the plans.
  • Greater synergy among tri-services: The move helps achieve commonality for greater synergy among the three services, while also recommending officers for higher tri-service command and staff appointments.

Issues governing these cross-service postings

  • Inter-service batch parity: “At times, officers junior to their colleagues during commissioning get promoted faster and hold higher appointments, while their senior colleagues await their promotions
  • Biasedness: The officers are often considered for promotion with colleagues carrying out similar responsibilities.
  • Conflict of interest: There are vested interests within them who seek to derive personal benefits from such moves.
  • The conflict between tri-services: All three services want to maintain a virtuoso in the defence of India. There is often an issue where one service is not willing to agree with others due to a clash of their ego.

Way ahead

  • Once the cross-staffing move is implemented and institutionalised, the ACRs of officers in such appointments would need to be standardised.
  • The decision to have a common ACRs for the senior officers is a step in this direction and an element of transparency should be inculcated.
  • The Chief of Defense Staff and the Department of military affairs must coordinate such moves to ensure synergy and cooperation.

Common annual confidential reports

  • It was a recent decision of the Indian military to go for common annual confidential reports for two and three-star officers.
  • Common ACRs for senior military officers are aimed at aiding cross-service postings, essential to create jointness and integration among the three services.


All these new decisions — from cross-staffing of officers and creating common ACRs for senior officers of the Army, Navy and Indian Air Force — are aimed at enhancing jointness and integration within the three services. This is particularly essential as the Indian military inches towards the creation of integrated theatre commands which would integrate the three services and their resources into specific theatre commands.


Cross posting of Indian army, Air Force and Indian Navy would pave a long way towards the integration of Tri-services and the theaterisation of command. Critically evaluate.(250 words)