India to have Chief of Defence Staff: PM Modi

Photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Independence Day parade at the Red Force in New Delhi today.

New Delhi: India will soon have a single-point military adviser for the government to ensure better synergy among the four armed forces of the nation in planning their future.

Photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspecting a guard of honour by the three armed forces personnel at the Red Fort in New Delhi today on the occasion of Independence Day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff, most possibly a four-star military officer, who would be above the three chiefs of the forces in protocol – a first among equals, if you may. The announcement, in Modi’s own words, is here below in this tweet put out by the Prime Minister’s Office handle:

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was an idea born as a derivative of the 1999 Kargil battle that India fought with Pakistan to oust the latter’s army regulars, who captured the peaks along the Line of Control between the two nations vacated by India during the winter of 1998-99.

A Kargil Review Committee, set up by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under strategic thinker and former bureaucrat K. Subrahmanyam, had made the recommendation for having a CDS.

However, the Vajpayee government lost the parliamentary polls in 2004 and as a result, the plan was put under cold storage by the Manmohan Singh government for 10 years.

With Modi returning to power in the 2019 parliamentary polls with a bigger majority has led to the government acting with greater confidence on policies that were awaiting a decision.

A prelude to the CDS was the setting up of the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters led by a Lieutenant General-rank officer or an equivalent, apart from the creation of the Chief’s of Staff Committee, under which the senior most Chief of Staff of either army, navy or air force heading it as Chairman in rotation.

The CDS, when created, will be handling future planning, procurement, training and jointmanship for all the armed forces of the country.

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