Army Chief General Bipin Rawat (retiring as Chief of Army today) who is all set to take the post of country’s 1st Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) tomorrow that is 1st of January 2020 (assumed the office today though) would end a two-decade-long wait on Thursday.
The post which was recommended by a high-level committee that was set up to examine the gaps in the country’s security system in the wake of the Kargil War in 1999 was announced to be established soon by the PM Modi on his Independence day speech this year.
The post of CDS was established formally on December 24th, 2019, and the announcement of Gen. Bipin Rawat as 1st CDS was made yesterday. Now, as there are many confusions in mind of the general public in regards to what is CDS and what are its roles and responsibilities and why the post is needed when there are three chiefs, we took this opportunity to address all your queries.
What Is CDS?
In a layman’s term CDS can be defined as an officer or office that would act as the single-point advisor to the Government of India on matters related to the three forces. The officer concerned will be in a position to advise on matters related to all the three services — Army, Navy and Air Force — thus making India’s armed forces integrated.
CDS who would be a “Four Star” officer senior to the three armed forces (Army, Navy, Airforce) Chiefs but would be seen as ‘first among equals’. An officer would hold the post of CDS till he/she attains the age of 65 years.
Roles And Responsibilities Of CDS
As discussed above CDS would be a single point advisor to the Defense Minister in regards to the matter of the three armed forces. Apart from this, he/she would hold the following responsibilities as a part of his duty:
- Would serve as a Secretary to the newly created Department of Military Affairs under Ministry of Defense
- Would have all powers of Secretary level officer
- Would be empowered to directly convey the matter to the Defense Minister unlike other Secretaries in the Ministry of Defense who have to go through the Defense Secretary.
- Would Focus on Tri-Service Issues
- Would not have operational control over the three forces
- Would act as a Principal Advisor to the Defense Minister
- Would not be interfering with the roles and responsibilities of Defense Secretary
- Would look for the optimal utilization of the budget in hand
- Would hold the office of Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee
- Would be a member of the Defense Acquisition Council and Defense Planning Committee
- Would be military advisor to Nuclear Command Authority
Need Of CDS
That’s the big question that many have been asking why a CDS when we have three chiefs? Well the answer to this was also given by the high-level committee of 1999. Well the basic of it is to create an integration between the three forces.
It can be also seen as a step towards “Theater Command” (A joint command is called a ‘theatre command‘ in military parlance). However, initially, the focus of CDS would be to foster jointness in operations, transportation, logistics, communications, etc of the three forces.
Why 20 Years Wait?
To put it simply it the political consensus on the matter was lacking ever since it came as a recommendation in 1999. Though many other committees recommended this post to be formed but the political consensus was missing.
The Group of Ministers which had favored CDS in 2001 had said it should be done with political consensus. Now, when a majority government is in full command at the center it has finally put the roadblock aside and has gathered that consensus to implement it.
Credits: Study IQ Education