New Delhi: In a major step towards reforming the defence forces, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on December 24 approved the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who will head the Department of Military Affairs of the rank of a four-star General from any of the three Services.
Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar stated after the Cabinet meeting that the decision to appoint CDS was part of the government’s move to strengthen the defence forces and reform the defence sector.
As of now only the P-5 nations – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – have equivalent posts. The decision to have this post was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 when he addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
Soon after the announcement, a Committee headed by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval was set up to make recommendations for the creation of CDS.
The CDS will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999.
The high-level committee headed by Doval finalised responsibilities and the enabling framework for the CDS.
The CDS, described as ‘first among equals’ among service chiefs, will also be tasked with trimming weapons procurement procedures and integrating the operation of the armed forces. The post will have a fixed term that has yet to be determined. The CDS would be from either the Army, the Air Force or the Navy – who will also head the Department of Military Affairs and be paid a salary equal to a service chief.
The current Army Chief General Bipin Rawat who is due for retirement on December 31 is being strongly tipped to be the first CDS with a four-star rank.
All the three Service chiefs have been asked to send in their recommendation for the post.
In the present structure, the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), is Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat.