NEW DELHI: General Bipin Rawat has been named the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The Chief of Defence Staff will be a four-star General, the principal military advisor to the defence minister, and head the new Department of Military Affairs to ensure jointness in training, logistics and procurement of the three services.
The defence ministry had recently amended the army, air force and navy rules by bringing in a new clause that allows the Chief of Defence Staff to serve upto a maximum age of 65 years. The notification came in the backdrop of Gen Rawat retiring on December 31. According to the existing rules, an Army Chief has a tenure of three years or upto the retirement age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. Although Rawat is yet to reach the age of 62 years, he is retiring because he is completing his tenure of three years as Army Chief.
As reported by ET’s Shaurya Gurung, the CDS will administer all tri-services organisations, comprising personnel from the army, air force and navy, but their command will be with the Chief of the service which has a predominant role in their functioning. However, he will head the newly created agencies for cyber and space. The tri-service agency of Special Forces could also come under him, but their deployment will be dependent on ground commanders. The headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff, comprising representatives from the three services, will come under him. The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, also known as the CISC, who heads this tri-services organisation will also come under the CDS and be renamed as the Deputy CDS. The CDS will also head all tri-services institutions such as the National Defence Academy in Pune, College of Defence Management in Secunderabad and the National Defence College in Delhi. He will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and will be supported by the IDS staff in this second role as well.
The CDS, however, will not have any operational role and military command. But, will ensure coordination in joint operations. He will also not be eligible to hold any government office after demitting as the CDS.
The Cabinet- chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi- cleared a proposal for the creation of a new Department of Military Affairs (DMA). The DMA will be another department under the defence ministry. The CDS will function as its secretary and is likely to have financial powers. He will have the salary and perquisites equivalent to a service chief. The three services, the Headquarter IDS, the Territorial Army, works relating to the army, air force and navy, and procurements exclusive to the services, except capital acquisitions, will come under the DMA. Officials explained that works relating to the services will include restructuring matters as well. The Department of Defence, however, will deal with larger issues pertaining to the country’s defence.
Importantly, the DMA will promote jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the services. It will have an appropriate mix of civilians and military officers. The DMA will also facilitate the restructuring of military commands for the best utilisation of resources, including through the establishment of joint or theatre commands. It will also promote the use of indigenous equipment by the services.
As his role as the Permanent Chairman COSC, he will be senior to the three services’ chiefs and will head that committee which deals with matters of jointness. The Permanent Chairman COSC is a new structure, wherein from now only the CDS will head it. In the existing structure of the COSC, the senior-most chief- currently of the army, General Bipin Rawat- becomes the chairman. The head of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-services theatre command, who reports to the Chairman COSC will now report to the CDS.
While the CDS will be the principal military adviser to the defence minister on all tri-services matters, the three chiefs will continue to advise the minister on matters exclusively concerning their services. “The CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three service chiefs,” a defence ministry statement reads.
Meanwhile, as the Permanent Chairman COSC he will be a member of the Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Defence Minister and the Defence Planning Committee headed by the National Security Adviser. He will be the military adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority, which handles India’s nuclear arsenal. He will bring jointness in operations, logistics, transport, training, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office. He will also assign inter-services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget. And will bring reforms to augment the combat capabilities of the forces. He will also evaluate plans for ‘out of area contingencies’ for countries in India’s neighbourhood, where India’s national interests get jeopardised.
The move follows the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 to create the post of CDS. The demand for the post of CDS has been there for a long time to ensure jointness and synergy between the three services.
General Bipin Rawat is serving a rare full three year term as the Indian Army Chief after he superseded two officers in 2016.
Source: Economic Times