Chief of Defence Staff: PM Narendra Modi, on Independence Day 2019, Announces New CDS Post to Oversee All 3 Wings of Armed Forces
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New Delhi, August 15: Nearly two decades after the Kargil Review Committee had recommended the constitution of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for enhanced coordination between all three wings of the armed forces and the government, Prime Minister Narendra on Thursday said a CDS would now be appointed to oversee the Army, Navy and Air Force.

"Our security forces are our pride. To further enhance coordination between our forces, I announce a big decision today,India will now have a Chief of Defence Staff- CDS. This is going to make the forces even more strong," Modi said. Highlights of PM Modi's Address on Independence Day 2019.

The post of CDS, as a single-point advisor to the political establishment on military issues, has been demanded by several military veterans over the past few years. The CDS, with a tri-service joint planning staff headquarter, had been mooted to manage and improve communication between the three military services on the one hand and the government on the other.

It is a matter of general belief that the need for a CDS has been done away with after the inception of the post of a National Security Adviser (NSA) in the year 1998. The NSA works at the discretion of the Prime Minister of the country whom it advises on matters of both external and internal threats.

Earlier, in April 2018, the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) was created by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre with objectives including implementation of military and security strategy in the country, drafting of capability development plans, to accelerate procurement and acquisition of defence equipment and to boost the defence manufacturing system in the country.

The DPC, which was placed under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, also had all three service chiefs among its members. Therefore, the chairperson of DPC was practically seen to have taken over the position of the proposed post of the Chief of Defence Staff.

According to another army veteran, retired Lieutenant General Deependra Singh Hooda, the requirement of undiluted military advice for the political establishment, which is a crucial need for any country, cannot be fulfilled by the NSA in India. Since its inception, the post of NSA in India has been occupied only by those belonging to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) or the Indian Police Service (IPS).

"The CDS remains a need for the military establishment in India. The NSA doesn't have the military experience or expertise to advise the political establishment on external security matters. It is naive to expect a Defence Secretary, who doesn't enjoy a fixed tenure in the Ministry, to advise the political establishment on military matters. On the other hand, one already has over 40 years of military experience by the time one becomes a chief of any of the three services," Hooda told IANS.

(With IANS inputs)