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New Chief of Defence Staff would be single point advisor on military matters

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New Delhi, Nov 19: Come December and there would be a major announcement. India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is expected to be announced in December. A new Army Chief would also be appointed as General Bipin Rawat is set to retire on December 31.

The CDS would be the single point advisor to the Government on matters relating to the military. The advise by the CDS would also be binding on the three service chiefs. This would mean that the existing post of Integrated Defence Staff would be converted into the Vice Chief of Defence Staff.

Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria

Top sources in New Delhi tell OneIndia that the new CDS would be appointed by the end of this year.

Chief of Defence Staff could have 5 star rank, with administrative and not operational control

Currently, the process to fix the tenure, rules, regulations among other formalities is underway.

There are also deliberations on regarding the tenure of the CDS. The source said that we will decide soon on whether the retirement age should be 63 or 64. Currently the name of General Rawat is doing the rounds and he would be turning 62 on March 16 2020.

The current Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, whose name has done the rounds for this post would retire on December 30, 2019. He will turn 62 by March 16, 2020.

The source also added that the high powered committee headed by National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval is framing the terms of reference. The officer added that the government would be looking for field commanders too. This way we can have a larger pool of human resources to choose from.

The Doval led team is also discussed the tenure of the CDS. One of the key points of discussion is on tenure and whether it should be one or two years. Under the current arrangement, the chairman of the chief of staff committee usually has a tenure of 5 to 6 months.

The other point of discussion is whether the CDS should be a five or four-star general. There has been some finality in this regard and the committee is of the view that the CDS should be of four-star rank, the source also added. It may be recalled that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address had announced the creation of the post of CDS. This post had been recommended by the Kargil Review Committee. This move is being considered as one of the biggest military reforms.

The powers that would be vested would be crucial. In 2001, a group of ministers had recommended that the CDS should have administrative control and not operational control. "The CDS should have the requisite mandate and authority. Give it time to evolve as acceptability will be an issue. Need is to align authority and accountability," the Kargil Review Committee had said. While previous governments were reluctant on creating such a position, this time around the Modi government decided to go in for a CDS as it would be a game changer.

Why the post of Chief of Defence Staff is crucial for India

The CDS would be a one point reference for the Prime Minister in all security related matters, especially those concerning the military. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Independence Day address had said that in order to further better coordination between the forces, I want to announce that India will have a Chief of Defence Staff. This would ensure that the forces are more effective, Modi also said during his Independence Day speech.

The first time that the recommendation for this post was made was by the K Subrahmanyam Committee that was set up after the Kargil. Another committee headed by Naresh Chandra which was set up to suggest reforms in higher defence management had also suggested the importance of such a post.

The committee, however, suggested that the post of a Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff be created. The CDS would focus on coordination between the three service chief, when it comes to procurements, budgeting, logistics and training. The Army, Navy and IAF chief will, however, continue to have operational command of their respective forces.

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