Who is Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)?
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will integrate the operations of the three forces i.e. Indian Army,Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The Chief of Defence Staff will also play the role of military advisor on important defense and strategic issues for the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced from the rampart of Red Fort that the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will be created soon. According to reliable sources, the government is in the process of setting up a high-level committee to appoint the Chief of Defence Staff.
History behind the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in India
It is not the first time that creation of post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is in progress. The proposal for setting up a Chief of Defence Staff has been contemplated around 20 year ago after the Kargil war of 1999 by the K. Subrahmanyam committee. But in the absence of political consensus and apprehensions among services; it never moved forward.
Naresh Chandra committee recommended the appointment of a Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) in 2012, but this was also of no use.
Who is Chief of Defence Staff?
The Chief of Defence Staff is meant to be a single-point military advisor to the government on important defense and strategic issues for the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
The Chief of Defence Staff will be assigned the work of coordinating long-term planning, training, procurement and logistics of the three army wings.
As we know that the budget of defence sector is going to flat so the stress on resources is increasing year by year. Now it is the need of the hour to increase the coordination among the three army wings by optimising the use of limited resources.
India being a nuclear weapons state, the CDS will also act as the military advisor to the Prime Minister on nuclear issues.
It is not clear yet how long the tenure of the CDS will be and whether the rank of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will be the same or higher than the three army chiefs.
Worth to mention here that all major countries, especially the nuclear weapon states, have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
What is the current status?
As of now the senior-most of the three Chiefs functions as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The role of COSC is additional and the tenures have been very short.
For example; Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa took over as the Chairman COSC on May 31 and will hold this post up to September 30 (retirement date of B.S. Dhanoa). After the B.S. Dhanoa the baton will pass to the senior-most Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat who will hold this post up to December 31, 2019 which is again just 2 month long tenure.
So the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is the need of the hour to increase the coordination among the all three wings of Indian army so that the limited resources of the defence can be optimally utilised and good results can be shown during any war like situation.