Centre Likely To Announce India’s First Chief Of Defence Staff On 31 December

Centre Likely To Announce India’s First Chief Of Defence Staff On 31 DecemberArmy Chief General Bipin Rawat (Representative Image) (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Central government is likely to announce the name of country's first-ever Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on 31 December as a pre-scheduled function for the ceremonial transfer of the baton of chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC) was deferred at the last minute on Friday (27 December).

Outgoing Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who is to retire on 31 December, was to hand over the baton to Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh at the ceremony on Friday, but it has been deferred to 31 December.

"Farewell and handing over ceremony of the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee stand postponed to 31 December," said a senior Indian Army officer on Friday.

The move is a clear indication that the Centre is all set to announce the name of the CDS on 31 December.

The CoSC comprises the Army, Navy and IAF chiefs, with the senior-most of them acting as the "rotational" chairman till he retires.

But with the Cabinet approving the CDS post and its charter on 24 December, General Bipin Rawat is widely considered the frontrunner for the position.

Though a 4-star general with the same pay and perks like the three service chiefs, who will retain full operational control over their forces, the CDS will be the "first among equals" as the permanent chairman of CoSC and head of a new department of military affairs in the Ministry of Defence.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 24 December, approved the CDS post and its charter and duties.

"He will be drawing a salary equivalent to service chiefs and will head the Department of Military Affairs to be created under the Ministry of Defence. He will function as its Secretary," Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had said during the Cabinet briefing.

He will have all the powers like other secretaries, including financial.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had hailed the Union Cabinet's decision to approve the CDS post and its charter and duties, calling it a "historic and major" decision towards bringing about jointmanship between the armed forces. "In a historic decision for ushering in reforms in the higher defence management in the country, the government has decided to create a post of Chief of Defence Staff and to create a Department of Military Affairs, within the Ministry of Defence (MoD)," Singh tweeted.

"The decision to create CDS is a major step towards bringing about jointmanship between the armed forces," Singh said.

The CDS will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on tri-services matters. The three service chiefs will continue to advise the Defence Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective forces.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)