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India may get its new CDS only by April

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New Delhi, Dec 16: The passing away of Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat has necessitated a replacement. While it was being said that Indian Army Chief General M M Naravane would be appointed the next CDS, it appears for now that the government may wait at least until April.

General Naravane takes over as chairman of CoSC until CDS appointment | Oneindia News
India may get its new CDS only by April

The Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of the Staff Committee who used to report to the Chief of Defence Staff will report to General Naravane. However this is just a stop gap measure until a new CDS is appointed.

Sources tell OneIndia that this arrangement is likely to continue until April. General Naravane is due to retire in April and until then the government does not want any shake up in the Army ranks especially due to the ongoing situation along the Line of Actual Control.

This would mean that the current arrangement would only be a stop gap. The source however added that there is no question of keeping the position of CDS vacant. It is a very important position when it comes to promoting jointness in procurement, staffing and training of the three services. The CDS is responsible to ensure joint planning and integration.

"He will act as the Principal Military Advisor to Raksha Mantri [RM] on all tri-services matters. The three chiefs will continue to advise RM on matters exclusively concerning their respective services. CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three service chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership," the government had said in a statement following the appointment of CDS General Rawat.

After the CDS, the second most senior officer in the Department of Military Affairs is the additional secretary, who is a three star military officer. The post is currently held by Lt. General Anil Puri.

Officials however added that the inclination is more towards appointing an officer from the Army as the next CDS. This is largely to do with the fact that there is trouble on both borders with China and Pakistan and the Army is handling that situation.

A recommendation by the Shekatkar committee said the government must choose the CDS from among the three service chiefs. This would mean that General Naravane would be the frontrunner for the post.
General Naravane is due to retire in April next year. If he is named as the next CDS then the post of

Army chief would fall vacant, a situation that the government does not want for now.

The appointment is extremely important considering the tensions with both China and Pakistan along the Line of Actual Control and Line of Control. The situation at the Af-Pak region with Kabul is an evolving one and the time is very crucial for the government to have a sound and single point military advisor.

The other threat is with regard to cyber security. With Beijing upping its ante on cyber space and waging an information war, the appointment becomes even more crucial. Moreover the situation has become very crucial with Beijing training its guns on Taiwan, US, Japan and Australia.

While there are no clear indications on what the government is planning on doing immediately, there is every chance that the PM Narendra Modi led government may take a deep dive.

The post of CDS was created with plenty of forethought. It was decided that it was absolutely essential not only in the context of the current situation, but also in terms of how the situation would evolve in the near future. General Rawat himself had said that India is facing a threat from 2.5 fronts.

Given the current situation along the LAC, the CDS would have to push for the creation of military theatre commands. His advise to the government of India at such a juncture would be very crucial.

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