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Government to soon announce India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, Bipin Rawat front runner

At the annual press conference ahead of the Navy Day, Admiral Singh had appreciated PM Modi for taking the historic decision on the CDS post

New Delhi: The Central government may announce the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of India. According to the reports apart from announcing the name, the government will also announce the charter of duties for the CDS.

After the announcement, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval reached the Ministry of Home Affairs for a high-level meeting, which is also being attended by Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor GC Murmu, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and CRPF Director General Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort announced the creation of the post of CDS. The Chief of Defence Staff and a landmark military reform basically is a single-point military adviser to the central government.

The PM Modi had stated that the CDS, as head of the tri-services, will work with an aim to ensure greater coordination among the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

The central government had quickly, announced the post, set up an Implementation Committee led by NSA Ajit Doval to put in place an enabling framework and list out the exact responsibilities of the CDS. The panel has already given its report to the Centre.

According to government sources, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force have already submitted their recommendations to the Ministry of Defence with regard to names of their senior-most commanders for the CDS post.

The government sources also added Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is the front-runner in the race. Gen Rawat retires on December 31 and he may be named India’s first CDS before he hangs up his boots. In that case, Gen Rawat will get an extension.

The CDS is expected to be a four-star general and will be the first among equals among the three service chiefs. But, in the list of protocol, the CDS will rank higher than the service chiefs.

Apart from other responsibilities, the CDS will be tasked with powers to establish theatre commands as well as allocate military assets among the three services in order to ensure better synergy. In the present scenario, there are three services which work under the framework of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) for coordination.

The government had set up a high-level committee to look into the gaps in the national security system post-1999 Kargil War. The panel had first recommended the appointment of a CDS. Later, a group of ministers who had looked into reforms required in the national security system had also favoured having a Chief of Defence Staff.

Earlier, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh had said that the newly-created post should have the necessary powers to execute strategically important plans relating to national security challenges.

At the annual press conference ahead of the Navy Day, Admiral Singh had appreciated PM Modi for taking the historic decision on the CDS post. “The CDS should be adequately empowered. We have given our inputs to the government on the issue,” he said.

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