General Bipin Rawat was India’s first Chief of Defence Staff

India's first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat unfortunately passed away in a tragic IAF chopper crash in Tamil Nadu. He was travelling with his wife and 12 other defence personnel. 

Gen Bipin Rawat
Gen Bipin Rawat

CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat passed away in a tragic crash of the Indian Airforce Helicopter Mi-17V5 in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu on December 8,2021. There were  a total of 14 people on board the ill-fated military chopper among whom 13 have been confirmed dead. CDS General Bipin Rawat was scheduled to address the faculty and students of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. 

CDS General Bipin Rawat, Wife among 13 Dead as IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crashes in Tamil Nadu

General Bipin Rawat had taken charge as India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on January 1, 2020.  He served as the principal military advisor to the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. He had assumed the office of CDS after he retired as Army Chief on December 31, 2019. The Chief of Defence Staff is an important post that was created for the first time.  

The Chief of Defence Staff, a four-star General, is also the head of the new Department of Military Affairs, whose responsibility is to ensure unity in training, logistics and procurement of the three armed services. With the tragic demise of serving CDS General Bipin Rawat, the government will be forced to name the next Chief of Defence Staff in these most unfortunate circumstances. 

Read more about General Bipin Rawat here

Chief of Defence Staff Post -Objective

The Chief of Defence Staff post was created to ensure jointness and synergy between the three defence services of India and optimum utilisation of the allocated budget. 

Chief of Defence Staff post: Key Details 


The tenure of the Chief of Defence Staff will be maximum up to the age of 65 years. The defence ministry amended the army, air force and navy rules to bring in the new clause that relaxes the age limit.  

As per the existing rules, the maximum term of the Army Chief is three years or the retirement age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. General Bipin Rawat, who is yet to reach 62 years of age, is retiring as he has completed his three years as Army Chief.


The Chief of Defence Staff will be responsible for the administration of all three armed services including the army, navy and the air force. The main command of the services will be, however, with the respective Chief of the service. 

The CDS will be the principal military adviser to the Union Defence Minister but the chiefs of all three services will also continue to advise the minister on matters exclusively concerning their services. 

The Chief of Defence Staff will be senior to the three services’ chiefs but he will not have the authority to exercise any military command, including over the three service chiefs. 

The key role of the CDS will be to ensure optimum utilisation of allocated budget, synergy in the procurement of weapons, training and operation of the three services through joint planning. The CDS will form the overall defence acquisition plan for the tri-services.

The Chief of Defence Staff will also serve as the head of the newly formed cyber and space agencies and the tri-service agency of Special Forces. The deployment of the Special Forces will, however, be decided by the ground commanders.

The CDS will also head the headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff, which comprises representatives from the three services. The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, who currently heads the tri-services organization, will now be known as Deputy CDS and come under the authority of the CDS.

All tri-services institutions will also come under the authority of the Chief of Defence Staff. The main role of the CDS will be to ensure coordination in joint operations. He will not have any operational role and military command.

Further, the Chief of Defence Staff will also hold the post of permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. 

The CDS will also not be eligible to hold a government office after retiring from the post. 


Prime Minister Modi had announced the creation of the new post of Chief of Defence Staff during his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2019. The Union Cabinet, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, had later approved the proposal for the creation of a new Department of Military Affairs (DMA).

The Department of Military Affairs will fall under the Union Defence Ministry and the Chief of Defence Staff will function as its head.

The department will have authority over the three services, the Headquarters of IDS, territorial army and all work related to the three services and their procurements except capital acquisitions.

Comprising both civilians and military officers, the department will mainly work to promote unity in the procurement, training and staffing for the three services.

With the creation of the new department, the existing Department of Defence will focus on larges issues relating to the nation’s defence.

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