Day Before His Retirement, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Named India's First Chief Of Defence Staff
Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) just a day before his retirement as the Chief of Army Staff, a post he has been serving for past three years.
The CDS will operate as a single-point advisor to the government on defence matters and will focus on a stronger connection between the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy.
General Rawat’s Profile
An alumnus of the St. Edward School, Shimla, and National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, General Rawat was commissioned in the fifth battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he was conferred with the ‘Sword of Honour’.
During his 38 year service, he has been honoured with several gallantry awards. General Rawat held the command of infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, an infantry division in the Kashmir Valley and a corps in the Northeast in his career.
He was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff on December 31, 2016, and was to retire December 31, 2019. However, he will now continue to serve as the Chief of Defence Staff.
Chief Of Defence Staff
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, had promised to establish the top military post. On December 24, the government officially established the post of Chief of Defence Staff.
The recommendation was made by a committee that studied the military’s performance during the 1999 Kargil war.
The government released the duties and responsibilities of the CDS and said that the post would be occupied by a four-star officer from the Indian Army, Indian Navy or the Indian Air Force.
Days later, the government also allowed a Chief of Defence Staff to serve until the age of 65. Currently, the three service chiefs retire either after completing a tenure of three years or once they reach the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
The CDS will be the “first among equals” with respect to the three service chiefs, all four-star officers who will be responsible for the operational command of their respective forces.
The government said that the CDS will lead the newly established Department of Military Affairs within the Ministry of Defence.
Among other key areas of responsibilities, the CDS will focus on promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing and facilitating the restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources.
The Chief of Defence Staff is also expected to devise mechanisms that reduce wasteful expenditure in all three forces with better coordination and procurement plans.