India has appointed General Bipin Rawat as the country's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) tasked with the responsibility of advising the defence minister along with heading the new Department of Military Affairs to unite the training, logistics and procurement for the three branches of the armed forces.
"Indian Army congratulates General Bipin Rawat on being appointed as the first Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) of the country. It is a proud & historical moment. The appointment would bring in enhanced synergy, jointness and interoperability in the Armed forces," the Indian Army said in a Twitter post.
The defence ministry had recently amended the army, air force and navy rules by bringing in a new clause that allows the Chief of Defence Staff to serve upto a maximum age of 65 years. The notification came in the backdrop of Gen Rawat retiring on December 31, Economic Times reported Monday.
According to the existing rules, an Army Chief has a tenure of three years or upto the retirement age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. Although Rawat is yet to reach the age of 62 years, he is retiring because he is completing his tenure of three years as Army Chief.
The four-star General will administer all tri-services organisations, comprising personnel from the army, air force and navy, but their command will be with the Chief of the service which has a predominant role in their functioning.
He will however head the newly created agencies for cyber and space, tri-service agency of Special Forces (power to deploy the forces will be vested with ground commanders), and headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff comprising representatives from the three services.
The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (CISC) who heads this tri-services organisation will also come under the CDS and be renamed as the Deputy CDS. The CDS will also head all tri-services institutions such as the National Defence Academy in Pune, College of Defence Management in Secunderabad and the National Defence College in Delhi. He will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and will be supported by the IDS staff in this second role as well.
The CDS, however, will not have any operational role and military command. But, will ensure coordination in joint operations. He will also not be eligible to hold any government office after demitting as the CDS.
The Cabinet- chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi- cleared a proposal for the creation of a new Department of Military Affairs (DMA). The DMA will be another department under the defence ministry. The CDS will function as its secretary and is likely to have financial powers. He will have the salary and perquisites equivalent to a service chief. The three services, the Headquarter IDS, the Territorial Army, works relating to the army, air force and navy, and procurements exclusive to the services, except capital acquisitions, will come under the DMA. Officials explained that works relating to the services will include restructuring matters as well. The Department of Defence, however, will deal with larger issues pertaining to the country’s defence.
Importantly, the DMA will promote jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the services. It will have an appropriate mix of civilians and military officers. The DMA will also facilitate the restructuring of military commands for the best utilisation of resources, including through the establishment of joint or theatre commands. It will also promote the use of indigenous equipment by the services, the report said.
As his role as the Permanent Chairman COSC, he will be senior to the three services’ chiefs and will head that committee which deals with matters of jointness. The Permanent Chairman COSC is a new structure, wherein from now only the CDS will head it. In the existing structure of the COSC, the senior-most chief- currently of the army, General Bipin Rawat- becomes the chairman. The head of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-services theatre command, who reports to the Chairman COSC will now report to the CDS.
As the Permanent Chairman COSC he will be a member of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by the Defence Minister and the Defence Planning Committee headed by the National Security Adviser. He will be the military adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority, which handles India’s nuclear arsenal. He will bring jointness in operations, logistics, transport, training, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office. He will also assign inter-services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget. And will bring reforms to augment the combat capabilities of the forces. He will also evaluate plans for "out of area contingencies" for countries in India’s neighbourhood, where India’s national interests get jeopardised.
General Bipin Rawat is serving a rare full three year term as the Indian Army Chief after he superseded two officers in 2016.