The discussions regarding CDS first began with the Kargil review committee constituted in 1999. It had recommended the creation of a common interface between the ministry of defense and the service headquarters. This was further re-examined by a group of ministers constituted in 2001. All these deliberations further led to the creation of the post of Chief of defense staff. Read further to know more about it.
About Chief Of Defence Staff
- The Chief of Defence Staff of the Indian Armed Forces is the military head and permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee of the Indian Armed Forces
- CDS was created to increase efficiency and coordination among the armed forces and reduce duplication.
- It aims to achieve better results at all levels through effective coordination between the Armed forces and civil services.
- CDS does not exercise any military command over any of the three service chiefs.
Qualifications for CDS
- An officer must be serving or retired in the rank of general or lieutenant general (three-star generals)
- He should be below 62 years on the date of his appointment
- The central government has the right to extend the tenure of the CDS to a maximum of 65 years.
Duties and functions of CDS
- he is the head of the department of military affairs (DMA) in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and functions as its secretary
- To act as the principal military advisor to the Defence minister
- To act as the permanent chairman of the Chief of staff committee
- To be a member of the defense acquisition council headed by the defense minister
- Bring about reforms in the functioning of the three services aimed at augmenting the combat capabilities of the armed forces
Need for CDS
- Better advice to the political executives-On ground experience of the officer in charge offers credible and holistic advice. The CDS also acts as an arbitrator when the Chiefs of staff have divergent views.
- Integration of armed forces-The creation of integrated battle groups was the idea of former CDS General Bipin Rawat
- hostile neighborhood-the possibility of a two-front war cannot be ruled out. CDS offers better coordination and mobilization of tri-services
- Military procurement-being a member of the defense acquisition council, CDS plays a key role in defense procurement
- Global similarity-many major countries like Italy, the UK, Canada, Japan, etc have similar posts
- Domination of Army-It is often accused that CDS will establish the dominance of the army and other services will be reduced to supporting roles
- Other pending reforms that make it less effective-there is a need for the creation of theater commands without which, the potential of CDS might not be fully realized.
- The selection of officer (Army, Navy, or Air Force) who will head CDS and his ranking/experience vis-a-vis other Service Chiefs will greatly decide the inter-service coordination.
- The appointment of a CDS, if successful, may lead to the development of theater commands in the future. Theaterisation has its advantages but the debate among the services on the need for such a move is far from over.
- The selection procedure for the post of CDS has to be carefully scrutinized. For the CDS to be effective, he would need to have control of the decision-making apparatus.
- If the Ministry of Defence has the power to overrule the CDS, especially in the case of procurement of equipment for the three services, the move may yield low dividends.
With the changing nature of modern warfare, modernization of the armed forces is the need of the hour. In this regard, the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff shall be considered a step in the right direction. A system of adequate checks and balances should also be established to ensure any undue use of authority.
Article written by: Vivek Rajasekharan