Chief of Defence Staff to come under RTI Act; NSA-led panel submits report

The government is likely to make an announcement within the next two weeks to appoint the CDS who will be the single-point military adviser to the government.

Published: 02nd December 2019 11:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2019 11:23 PM   |  A+A-

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. (Photo|AFP)


NEW DELHI: A high-level committee headed by NSA Ajit Doval to finalise responsibilities and enabling framework for the proposed chief of defence staff (CDS) has submitted its report to the government.

The government is likely to make an announcement within the next two weeks to appoint the CDS who will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999, sources said.

Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said in the Rajya Sabha that the CDS would come under the the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

In a landmark military reform, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 announced that India will have the CDS as head of the tri-services.

Days after the prime minister's announcement, an Implementation Committee headed by National Security Adviser Doval was appointed to finalise an enabling framework and determine the exact responsibilities for the CDS.

"The said committee has submitted its report," Naik said while replying to a question in Rajya Sabha.

He said the committee was constituted to determine and finalise the exact responsibilities, and suggest an enabling framework for the CDS besides all other issues involved.

Official sources said the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force have already recommended to the defence ministry names of their senior-most commanders for the top position Government sources said Army Chief Gen.

Bipin Rawat remains a front-runner for the post.

Gen. Rawat is due for retirement on December 31 and top government sources said, if everything goes according to plan, then the government would name him as the country's first CDS before he hangs up his boots.

The sources said the CDS will be a four-star general and will be the first among equals among the service chiefs.

However, in the list of protocol, the CDS will be higher up than the service chiefs.

The main task of the CDS will be to ensure joint manship among the three services which will include powers to work on setting up of few theatre commands as well as to allocate military assets among the services to synergise their operations.

At present, the three services coordinate their work under the framework of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS).

However, after the appointment of the CDS, the IDS would be subsumed into the new structure.

The CDS will also act as a single-point military adviser to the prime minister and defence minister on key defence and strategic issues.

A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country's security system in the wake of the Kargil war in 1999 had called for appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff as a single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister.

A group of ministers analysing required reforms in the national security system had also favoured appointing a Chief of Defence Staff.

In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Taskforce had recommended creating the post of a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.


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