Veteran Military Leaders of India Discuss the Requirement of Chief of Defence Staff

A panel discussion at the third Military Literature Festival held in Punjab talked about the need for the post of a Chief of Defence Staff in India. Considering the contemporary times, India needs a CDS and will get one in the coming days, said former Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt.

Crux of the Matter
  • Lt Gen (Retd) Aditya Singh, Air Marshal (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur, former defence secretary Shekhar Dutt, advisor to British High Commission New Delhi Brig Gavin Thompson and Lt Gen (Retd) Sanjeev Langer were the panel members who discussed the importance and role of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in India.
  • Panel members agreed to the proposition that an apex body to assist ‘jointmanship‘ is required. CDS is aimed at providing joint military advice to the conflux of security services.
  • CDS would establish co-ordination between the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • The position of the CDS would be a four-star official, who would be considered senior to the other three four-star officials of Army, Navy, and Air Force.
  • Comparing with security models of USA, France, China et al., Lt Gen (Retd) Sanjeev Langer proposed to depute armed forces permanently into the Ministry of Defence and let the CDS manage the conflux and its aspects of training, joint planning, modern warfare, budgeting, defence equipment purchases, et al.
  • A CDS will be in charge of devising warfare tactics and operational plans for Armed forces. Previously it was handled by the head of the Ministry of Defence.

Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is a proposed position for the combined chief of the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. It was first officially suggested in 1999 following the Kargil War through the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee. The official call was made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2019. It is speculated that whereas the Defense Secretary will be the main “defence” advisor, the CDS will assume the role of being the main “military” advisory, acting as the single-point military adviser to the government and Prime Minister. India is the only large democracy which does not have a single point military advisor; with all P5 countries having one. More Info