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4-star Gen could be Chief of Defence Staff

The Tribune 2019-12-03 07:46:00
Will be senior to the three Service Chiefs | Panel on creation of post submits its report to MoD

A high-powered panel constituted for creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), its powers and hierarchy in the forces has submitted its report to the government.

The implementation committee was constituted after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the creation of the CDS post on August 15. “The said committee has submitted its report,” the Ministry of Defence informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The committee has determined the exact responsibilities, besides an enabling framework, for the CDS, who will be tasked with ensuring synergy in training, logistics, planning and procurements among the Army, Navy and the IAF.

The panel has reportedly suggested that the CDS be a four-star general, but will be senior to the three Service Chiefs, sources said. This will ensure that the British-time structures of the three forces that made them work separately are merged in a manner to ensure togetherness.

Modi made the announcement from the ramparts of the Red Fort during his speech to mark the 73rd Independence Day celebrations. The CDS was suggested by the Kargil Review Committee. Since then, the matter has taken several twists and turns with the services getting involved in a turf war of sorts.

At present, the senior-most among the Service Chiefs is made the Chairman the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC). Their tenures are very short. Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat is the present CoSC chairman till his retirement on December 31 and he had taken over three months ago on October 1. Before him, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa started his tenure on June 1, which ended with his superannuation on September 30. The government has, over the past few years, stressed on joint operations, the reason being cost factor. The Ministry of Defence spends some 16 per cent of the country’s budget and still needs more. Of this spending, some can be reduced by merging the logistics, training and procurement.

A CDS is likely to be followed up by re-organising single-service commands into integrated theatre commands for better synergy in joint operations. At present, there are 19 commands, including the Strategic Forces Command and the Andaman and Nicobar Command, spread across the three services. This year, new divisions have been raised for aerospace, cyber and special force.

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