The Chief of Defence Staff ( CDS) is a critical position in modern era of hybrid warfare. Present post of CDS was created in India after due diligence and with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Security. Defence Secretary will continue to be the main "defence" advisor, whilst the CDS will assume the role of being the main "military" advisory, IN secretary rank acting as the single-point military advisor to the government and Prime Minister Let me come to the point.

A video showing one retired Major appealing to PM Modi, is going viral after kicking an unsavoury controversy involving the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). To put it briefly, besides suggesting upgradation of the newly created post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to the rank of a Cabinet minister , it also hints at de-bureaucratising the Ministry of Defence. The suggestion is simplistic and does not take into consideration the far-reaching implications. Illogical and motivated.

The CDS, as per MOD’s order, is to be treated at par with the chiefs of other three wings : Army,Air and Navy.All four will carry 4 stars ranks. Due diligence must have been applied by MOD. The CDS is supposed to be  first among equals. 

It now emerges that the CDS  will be given the status of Secretary heading the newly created Deptt of Military Affairs.

It will be wrong to assume that appointing the ex-Army chief Gen Rawat as CDS with 4 Stars, may not be effective as other three Chiefs may not give him the respect he should deserve. Armed forces work on unitary command. It is not clear under what circumstances the unsavoury controversy has suddenly erupted for no valid reason.

Nevertheless, the Government couldconsider assigning the new CDS 5 Stars rank after taking into consideration all the prosand cons especially the sensitivities of the matter. Late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the five-star rank. Reports have it that after the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal P C Lal, had threatened to quit if the post of CDS was created.There were fears that such a post would be too powerful.Later in 2001 the government was on the brink of making the then Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral, Sushil  Kumar, the CDS.

However, due to turf wars, among other reasons, the idea was scrapped.

Even in the present case, the Chiefs of Air Force and Navy are opposed to the creation of  Joint theatre commands. Their concerns must be addressed.

The suggestion to give CDS the rank of a Cabinet minister seems motivated and ill-advised. Will the idea to bypass the Raksha Mantri (RM) not create chaos and confusion of the worstkind? Who will be responsible to the Parliament? The CDS or Raksha Mantri ?

The powers and responsibilities of all three Chiefs and the co-ordinative role of CDS must be spelt out clearly to avoid confusion and squablings among them .This is  very important.

It does not behove an ex-Army man to discredit the bureaucracy in such a sarcastic manner and trigger a war within the Armed forces.The video aims at dividing the Army and the bureaucracy.

Motive is mischievous. Indians would never like India to be reduced to the level of military dictatorship like Pakistan.


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About A.K.Saxena

A K SAXENA, an Indian national, is a retired civil servant from Government of India He is also a freelance journalist with several published investigative articles and columns in various fields to his credit. His writings are a reflection of his interest in writing on divergent themes and making the topics relevant to a wider audience. A post graduate in Chemistry from University of Delhi,he could not sustain his interest in pursuing research and instead chose to enter the government service through the IAS etc exam held by the UPSC. “KALASAVYA” that brought out several publications besides organizing cultural shows.

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