Chief of defence staff likely to streamline decision-making for armed forces
By Shaswati Das
The Indian armed forces may be headed for a more streamlined system of reporting and decision making with the possible appointment of a chief of defence staff (CDS). Mint reported on Monday that Lt. Gen Praveen Bakshi was the likely choice.
However, there is lack of clarity on the role of the CDS and over whether India needs a CDS at all. A CDS was proposed after the 1999 Kargil War by the Kargil Review Committee (KRC), and endorsed by a group of ministers headed by then home minister L.K. Advani. Based on the latter’s recommendations, an Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) was set up in October 2001 to provide staff to the CDS from across the three services—a body which is still functional today, but without a CDS to head it.
“If the CDS is appointed, the IDS too will then have the requisite authority. In essence, the CDS will be a unifying force for all three services,” said Brig (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
While a defence ministry spokesperson did not comment on the matter, serving and retired armed forces officers said the appointment of a CDS—whether Bakshi or any other officer—will prove a massive turning point in the traditional setup of the forces, one that will require intricate “architectural planning.”
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Live Mint, December 20, 2016
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