New Chief of Defence Staff steps in to carry out Rawat's reforms
NEW DELHI: New Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan’s book Aftermath of a Nuclear Attack, written in 2010, delves deep into the complex world of nuclear weapons and aims to educate Indian officials to deal with different intricate scenarios that may emerge in future. It is ‘a case study on post-strike operations’ that provides a peep into his ability to anticipate upcoming events and prepare a roadmap of possible solutions. Thus, his colleagues in the military believe that Gen Chauhan will be able to eliminate the ambiguity shrouding the proposed reforms necessary for the nation’s security and defence. These reforms have been planned both at structural and human resource levels.
Gen. Chauhan was a three-star general who was promoted to four-star rank and assumed charge of CDS, nine months after the death of Gen. Bipin Rawat. According to the Defence Ministry, he will function as secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Military Affairs. The reforms introduced by Gen Rawat came to an abrupt end in December 2021 when died in a helicopter crash. There had been questions raised on the post of CDS itself.
So, as the new CDS, Gen Anil Chauhan has a humongous task at hand of making sure that the unfinished job of his predecessor is completed meticulously. “He is not only to create military structure like theatre commands to meet the requirement of modern warfare but also has to rationalise the human resources to raise a formidable mix of manpower commensurate to the warfare requirements,” Lt Gen VK Chaturvedi (retd) who has known CDS since long told this newspaper.
“His demeanour is amiable and graceful but at the same time he is capable of taking hard decisions which will help him to take forward the reforms introduced by Gen Rawat,” added Chaturvedi. Chauhan happens to be three-course senior to the serving chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force. In a career spanning over nearly 40 years, Gen Chauhan had held several commands, staff and instrumental appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir and Northeast. Born on May 18, 1961, Chauhan was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
In the rank of Major General, he had commanded an Infantry Division in the critical Baramula sector in the Northern Command. Later as Lt General, he commanded a corps in the Northeast and subsequently went to become the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command from September 2019 and held the charge until his retirement from the service in May 2021.
As a CDS, the primary task of Chauhan will be to not only think about navigating the military reforms but he also has to envisage strategic needs of the country and come out with solutions, says Maj Gen Ajay Seth (retd).
“Post his retirement as the Eastern Army Commander, he has been a military advisor to the NSA for around a year as part of the National Security Council Secretariat and thus he has been exposed to national security and strategic issues which will keep him in good stead as the CDS,” said Maj Gen Seth, who has observed Gen Chauhan quite closely in the service.
But Maj Gen Seth also emphasised that the job of Gen Chauhan would be quite challenging and he would need time to understand today’s defence scenario and then act accordingly. However, Seth believes that Gen Chauhan will be able to deliver as CDS because he reposes faith in officers and inspires them to conduct business smoothly without pressure.
“Qualities of his head and heart will help him bring together all services in tandem, reconfiguring military structure and formation of theatre commands,” said a senior military officer. CDS Anil Chauhan is married to Mrs Anupama Chauhan who is said to be an artist by profession. The two are blessed with a daughter named Pragya Chauhan.