4-star officer may be joint head of three Services

4-star officer may be joint head of three Services

Government is considering a proposal for appointment of a four-star officer as the joint head of the three Services, who would be a single point contact for the defence forces for the government.

"The Government is still considering the proposal," a Defence Ministry spokesperson said when asked to comment on reports suggesting that Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh would be appointed as the first Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staffs Committee.

The proposal for the appointment of the permanent COSC has been with the Government for quite some time and was part of recommendations made by the Naresh Chandra Committee formed for reforms in the higher defence structure management.

Government sources said recommendations of the Naresh Chandra Committee report were taken up for discussion by the National Security Council meeting headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) was understood to have been asked to prepare proposals for the Cabinet Committee on Security on the issue.

However, some of the proposals of the Chandra committee report have been resisted by the Defence Ministry also.

It is believed that the Government would take a decision on the issue by March next year when Gen Bikram Singh would be the senior most of the three Services chiefs and may be the choice of the ruling establishment.

If he is appointed on the post, this would result in a change in the line of succession in the Army as Lt Gen Anil Chait may become the Army Chief instead of Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Chait is at present the senior most Army Commander and posted as the head of the tri-services Integrated Defence Staff headquarters.

The post of permanent Chairmanm Chiefs of Staffs Committee is different from that of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as the former would be held by a four-star officer while the latter is proposed to be a five-star one.

The Defence Ministry is still consulting political parties on the issue of appointment of the CDS.

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