Who is the New CDS of India after Bipin Rawat?
The tragic and untimely death of the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash has created vacuum at the highest levels of India’s military hierarchy. The ambitious reform of the Armed Forces into integrated theatre commands, for which General Rawat has set ambitious targets, also remains incomplete.
General Rawat took over as the 27th Army Chief on 31st December, 2016 and as the first CDS on 1st January 2020. As he stepped down as the Army Chief after three years of tenure and before he turned 62, his tenure as CDS was till March 2023. The age limit for the CDS post is 65 years with no fixed tenure defined.
Unlike the structure for the military, where the second-in-command to every officer, whether in the field or as a service chief, officiates, if the lead becomes indisposed. Sources said there is no immediate line of succession envisaged for the CDS – although there is an unofficial Vice Chief of Defence Staff, who is a three-star officer.
For example, if a serving chief of the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force becomes incapable of holding his position, the Vice Chief of that force officiates as the chief until the government appoints a full-time chief. It is up to the government to take the call on who would handle his responsibilities, whether temporarily or taking over completely.
Who would be the Next CDS?
After General Rawat, the senior-most officer in the military is Army Chief General M.M. Narvane, who has tenure till April 2022. He took over as the 28th Army Chief from General Bipin Rawat on December 31, 2019 and is distinctly senior to the other two service chiefs.
There is also the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), headed by a three-star officer from the services called Chairman IDS to the Chairman COSC (CISC), who enjoys the rank of Vice Chief of a service. When the post of CDS was created, the CISC was expected be made VCDS. However, that is yet to be made official.
Know More About Chief of Defence Staff
Functions of Indian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
The duties and functions of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) include the following:
To head the Department of Military Affairs in Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
To act as the Principal Military Advisor to Hon’ble Raksha Mantri on all Tri-Service matters.
To function as the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
To administer the Tri-Service organizations/agencies/commands.
To be a member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri.
To function as the Military Advisor to the Nuclear Command Authority.
To bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, etc of the three Services.
To ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure and rationalise it through jointness among the Services.
To implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan and Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans, as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan.
To assign inter-services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget.
To bring about reforms in the functioning of three Services with the aim to augment combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.
- The mandate of the Department of Military Affairs inter-alia includes “Facilitation of restructuring of Military Commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands”.
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