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Chief of Defence Staff: All you need to know

The post of Chief of Defence Staff recommended for the first time after 1999 Kargil War.

Aug 16, 2019 11:15 IST
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Image Source: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first Independence Day speech of his second term, announced the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The Chief of Defence Staff will integrate all three services – the Indian Army, the Air Force and the Indian Navy.

On this occasion, he announced, “Our forces are India's pride. To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort: India will have a Chief of Defence Staff- CDS. This is going to make the forces even more effective.”

Government Veterans have been demanding a CDS for a long time. This post was recommended for the first time after the 1999 Kargil War. The objective behind the creation of this post is to ensure better coordination between all three services.

Who is the Chief of Defence Staff?

The Chief of Defence Staff is the highest-ranked officer of the country’s armed forces. The CDS advises the government on matters related to all three services - Army, Navy and Air Force. The CDS is also the head of the three services and is a five-star military officer. The CDS effectively coordinates among the three services during the war, emergency situations or something crucial. The Chief of Defence Staff also works as military adviser to the PM on nuclear issues.

Requirement of CDS

The post of Chief of Defence Staff was first recommended after the Kargil War. A committee which was set up to examine the gaps in the country’s security system recommended that all three services should have a Chief of Defence Staff. The committee also said that this officer must be a five-star military officer and it should be the single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister.

Apart from that committee, a group of ministers (GoM), which was constituted in 2001, also explained the necessity of having the Chief of Defence Staff. The GoM also informed the government about the necessary reforms required to improve India's national security.

CDS in Other Countries

Some countries use the terms Chief of Defence Forces, Commander-in-Chief, Chief of Staff, Supreme Commander, etc for the post of CDS, while countries like Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom use the term Chief of Defence Staff.

How Army work without CDS?

The most senior officer of all three military chiefs functions as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The incumbent Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa took over as the Chairman COSC on May 31 from outgoing Navy Chief Adm Sunil Lanba. Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat will take over as the Chairman of COSC on September 30 this year following the retirement of ACM Dhanoa .

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