Who is Lt General Anil Chauhan?
The Government on September 28, 2022, appointed former Eastern Army Commander Lt. General Anil Chauhan as the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The post has been vacant since the death of the country’s first CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in December 2021. As CDS, Chauhan will automatically become a four-star officer, and the first in a cohort of equals with the service chiefs — the only four-star officers in the country are the CDS, and the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
“The Government has decided to appoint Lt. Gen. Anil Chauhan (Retired) as the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who shall also function as Secretary to Government of India, Department of Military Affairs with effect from the date of his assumption of charge and until further orders,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The role of CDS also includes working on theaterisation. Theaterisation aims to bring together the three branches of the Indian Armed Forces – the Army, Navy and the Air Force.
It is the first time that a retired officer has been appointed for the position. This year in June, the government also amended service rules regarding the appointment of CDS. According to the new rules, all the 3-star and 4-star officers from the three services, including those who retired in the last two years, are eligible for consideration. Since service chiefs retire at the age of 62, the three service chiefs who retired in quick succession from September 2021 were ruled out.
The amended rules stated that the Government “may, if considered necessary, in public interest, so to do, appoint as Chief of Defence Staff, an officer” who is serving as Lt General, Vice Admiral, Air Marshal or General, Admiral, Air Chief Marshal — “or an officer who has retired” from these ranks “but has not attained the age of sixty-two years on the date of his appointment”.
About CDS Anil Chauhan
- Incumbent CDS is an expert on China issues, border-related issues and counter-insurgency operations. Lt Gen Anil Chauhan retired as the GoC of Eastern Command in May 2021, has held several command, staff and instrumental appointments and has extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in his nearly 40 years of career. After his retirement, Chauhan joined the National Security Council Secretariat as Military Advisor, replacing Lt Gen Vinod G Khandare who stepped down from the post in October 2021.
- In the rank of Maj General, the officer commanded an Infantry Division in the critical Baramula sector in the Northern Command. Later as Lt General, he commanded a corps in the North East and subsequently went to become the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command from September 2019.
- He was born on May 18, 1961 in the state of Uttarakhand. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. Lt Gen Anil Chauhan was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981.
- He was on the post of GoC Eastern Command during the Galwan clashes with china in Ladakh. A few months after the Indo-China clashes, Lt Gen Chauhan made a statement on the situation saying that “mutual trust on LAC between us (India) & Chinese PLA evaporated & will take time to stabilise”.
- Lt Gen Chauhan also served as a United Nations peacekeeper in Angola.
- Except for his outstanding career, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan is also known to have one of the best collections of masks from around the world in the armed forces, an amazing Golfer and an Author. He has authored two books – Aftermath of a Nuclear Attack, which was published in 2010, and Military Geography of India’s Northern Borders.
- Lt Gen Chauhan is 61 now and according to the government’s notification, the tenure of CDS can be extended up to 65 years. As a CDS, Lt Gen Chauhan is senior to the three serving chiefs – General Manoj Pande, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, and Admiral R Hari Kumar. He was junior in rank before becoming the CDS, but older in age.
- Lt Gen Chauhan is also from the same regiment as General Bipin Rawat – 11 Gorkha Rifles. Chauhan is from the 6th battalion of 11 GR, while Rawat was from 5/11 GR.