NEW DELHI: Moving ahead with the biggest decision on military reform, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the post of Chief of Defence Staff on Tuesday, a move that is seen as a major change in the higher defence management.
“The Cabinet has approved creation of post of Chief of Defence Staff of the rank of 4-Star General with salary equivalent to the services chiefs, and will head the Department of Military Affairs (that will be created under the Ministry of Defence) and will function as its Secretary,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said after the Cabinet meeting.
The approval came after a report submitted by the implementation committee, headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, was accepted.
The role and charter have also been given a go-ahead. CDS will be the single-point advisor to the government on military matters and is going to give impetus to the tri-service synergy.
PM Narendra Modi had announced the decision to appoint a CDS during his Independence Day address this year.
The Kargil Review Committee set up after the war in 1999 had also pitched for the CDS. But former Chiefs of Staff feel the CDS should not become another four-star appointment.
Ex-navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash (retd) said, “The MoD should amend the Rules of Business to include DMA as the sixth department.” Else, it will not be like the five departments directly under MoD, he feels.
Former army chief General VP Malik (retd) said, “The government will have to clear some areas. One is that the service chiefs are already senior to GOI secretaries, equated with Cabinet Secretary whereas the announcement equates the CDS with the Secretary.” Director-General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses ambassador Sujan Chinoy considers it to be important for the civil-military relationship.
“This will bring the civilian and military officials to work together thus increasing the understanding.”
CDS will be a member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the defence minister and the Defence Planning Committee chaired by NSA. But, General Malik suggests the CDS be given financial powers. The CDS will look after procurements exclusive to the services except capital acquisitions, training and staffing for the services.
The CDS will be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on all tri-service matters. The three chiefs will continue to advise the minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective services.
The CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three service chiefs. But the administration of the tri-service agencies/ organisations/ commands related to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS.