Gen Bipin Rawat New Chief of Defence Staff: 5 Things You Need To Know

With this new post, Rawat will serve as a single point of contact to the government for all tri-service matters

Former Indian Army service chief, General Bipin Rawat, was appointed India's first Chief Of Defence Staff. He took charge on January 1, after superannuating on December 31, 2019. The Union Cabinet cleared the position of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as a new single point of contact for the government within the defence forces, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar in a press conference on December 24. The announcement of the post was first made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address on Independence Day this year. With a CDS in place, India will join other major global military powers who have carved out such a role to ensure better synergy within the three wings of the armed forces.

General MM Naravane succeeded Rawat as the service chief of the Indian Army.

The Press Information Bureau, in a release, later outlined its mandate.

Here are five things you need to know.

1. What is a CDS?

The CDS, as announced by Cabinet, will be a four-star general and the first among equals - with all other service chiefs - the Army, Navy and Air Force too being four-star officers. The CDS will serve as the secretary of a new Department of Military Affairs under the Ministry of Defence. The CDS will be the single point of contact for all three-branches of military for the government, and will be its primary military advisor.

"The Cabinet has approved the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff of the rank of 4-Star General with salary equivalent to Service Chiefs, and will head the Department of Military Affairs to be created under the Ministry of Defence and will function as its Secretary", said Javadekar to reporters.

2. What all will come under the Department of Military Affairs?

Defence forces and procurement of all kinds will come under this department.

This includes:

  • The three wings of the Indian Armed Forces - the Army, the Navy and the Air force
  • Headquarters of the Armed Forces
  • All procurement for the services, except for capital procurements
  • The Territorial Army
  • Works related to the armed forces
3. What will be the responsibilities of the CDS?

The CDS will serve as the head of the Department of Military Affairs and serve as the Permanent Chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee (CoSC).

As Chairman of the CoSC, the CDS would be tasked with:

  • The administration of tri-service agencies, such as as Cyber and Space
  • Functioning as an advisor to the Command Authority
  • Bringing about reforms in the Armed Forces

The culmination of this exercise is expected to bring about more unity and to foster closer co-operation among all three wings of the Armed Forces.

"It is expected that this reform in the Higher Defence Management would enable the Armed Forces to implement coordinated defence doctrines and procedures and go a long way in fostering jointmanship among the three Services. The country would be benefitted by coordinated action on greater jointmanship in training, logistics and operations as well as for prioritisation of procurements", states the PIB press release.

4. Why is Permanent Chairmanship of the CoSC important?

Permanent Chairmanship of the CoSC is a major reform step in the Higher Defence Management of the Indian Armed Forces. Presently, the CoSC consists of all three service chiefs, with the chairman being the senior-most among them. The chairmanship of the CoSC ceases with chairperson's retirement. The permanent chairmanship of the CDS is expected to ensure continuity in joint military decisions.

However, the CDS will not have military command. All three service chiefs would still advice the government on matters concerning exclusive to their service.

5. Which other countries have a post equal to the CDS?

All major armies around the world have a CDS, or a post equivalent to it.

  • In the United States, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principle military advisor to the President, the Defence Secretary and to the National Security Council.
  • In Russia, the Chief of General Staff is the commander of the Armed Forces, and reports to the President and to the Defence Minister.
  • In China, the post of Chief of Joint Staff was a position created by President Xi Jingping in 2016 as a part of his military reforms, and heads the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission.
  • In the United Kingdom, a CDS similarly advices the Prime Minister as a singular point of contact.

The PIB release can be read here.


Updated On: 2020-01-02T12:13:50+05:30
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