News Mobile Explainer: Chief of Defence Staff

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The Indian Prime Minister had announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on his Independence Day speech.

Since then, the Government announced a committee on August 23rd to submit its recommendations on the creation of this post. Various facets related to the functionalities of this post are to be worked out. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has submitted his report to the government.

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The Chief of Defence Staff will be a single point military advisor to the Government. He will also head the Tri Services command and will ensure the smooth inter-coordination between the forces.

The Kargil review committee set up the Government of India after the Pakistani intrusions resulted into a war between the two neighbours recommended the creation of this post. This committee was headed by K Subrahmanyam, father of the present External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar.

K Subrahmanyam, IAS

It has been stonewalled ever since and now the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to create this post.
Some of the key take aways from this development are the following:

1. The post of CDS will be that of a 4-star Chief and not a 5-star Chief. The CDS will be equal to the other Chiefs of Army, Air Force and Naval staff.

2. It appears that technological integration of the forces is going to be a herculean task. The forces to ensure coordination will need to have technological compatibility. With the growing relevance of Artificial Intelligence, caution and integration are needed to ensure that the forces operate smoothly.

3. The Government has been modernizing the forces. The Air Force has got the maximum amount to upgrade the depleting squadrons and obsolete air crafts (Rs 39,347 Crores), Indian Army (Rs 29,522 crores), Navy (Rs 23,156 crores).

4. A massive part of the Defence budget has been spent on Salaries and pensions of its staff. With the pay commission recommending an increase and the One Rank One Pension scheme has increased the burden of finance on the forces.

5. This leaves little capital amount for the forces to modernize.

6. The Defence Ministry has also reviewed its Defence Procurement policy and given preference to the Make In India program.

7. With growing threats in the Indian neighbourhood and beyond, there is an urgent need to fix the issues affecting the Indian Defence forces and a Chief of Defence Staff will be needed to herald this change.

8. Hence the individual who will be India’s first CDS will have to be conversant with the requirements of the 3 forces-their technological and administrative challenges, defence procurement and someone who is preferably served abroad in one of the Indian missions as an Attache and who understands international practices.

Sources have exclusively confirmed to News Mobile India that General Bipin Rawat who is all set to retire on October 31st may very well be India’s first Chief of Defence Staff.

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