NEW DELHI: After much speculation, the government on Monday cleared the appointment of General Bipin Rawat as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff.
With the Appointments Committee of Cabinet signing the file, General Rawat will head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) that has been tasked with coordinating, cooperating and synergising inter- and intra-services relations among the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
After final approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security on creating the CDS, the maximum age for the post was fixed at 65. General Rawat was the frontrunner for the post.
He is the senior-most serving military officer with wide operational and staff experience. He will be the Principal Military Adviser to the Raksha Mantri on issues of tri-services, as was suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999. The three chiefs will continue to advise the Defence Minister on matters concerning their respective services.
General Rawat, as the CDS, will deal with the challenge of better integration of the civilian and military establishments at the highest level.
He will facilitate the restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing more synergy, including through establishment of joint commands.
Although the newly created tri-services divisions on cyber and space will be under the CDS, he will have no operational control over them. He, however, will be part of the Defence Acquisition Council and the Defence Planning Committee.
General Rawat is the 27th Chief of the Army Staff. He was due to retire on Tuesday after completing his full three-year tenure in that post, but has now got an elevation. His successor as Army chief is Lt Gen MM Naravane.
Academically inclined, he authored many articles on national security and leadership, which were published in various journals. He was awarded MPhil in Defence Studies from Madras University.
Service extension from the day he was due to retire
“Government has decided to appoint Gen Rawat as the Chief of Defence Staff with effect from December 31 and until further orders and extension in service of Gen Rawat with effect from December 31 and till the period he holds the office of CDS,” the defence ministry said. He will be able to serve as the CDS for three years because of the age cap of 65 for the post.