CDS decsion fraught with difficulties: Congress

Last Updated 31 December 2019, 15:15 IST

On the day General Bipin Rawat took over as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Congress on Tuesday sounded a word of caution saying that the decision was “fraught with difficulties”.

It also had a word of advice to the General, who has courted controversy over his comments – keep ideological predilections aside.

Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari claimed that the government had started on the “wrong foot” on the appointment of the CDS and only time will reveal the implication of the decision.

“What implications does nomenclature Principal Military Advisor to Defense Minister have in relation to the three service chiefs in terms of Military advice tendered to the government? Will the advice of the CDS override the advice of the respective Service Chiefs,” Tewari, a former Union Minister, asked.

Tewari wondered if the CDS as Permanent Chairperson of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee outrank the three service Chiefs.

“Would the three Chiefs report to Defense Minister through Defense Secretary or through CDS now,” he asked.

Another senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that the government took “all performances” of General Rawat, including his “ideological predilection” into cognisance in his selection as the first CDS.

“Let Bipin Rawat ji's ideological predilection not affect the apolitical institution of India, our Army,” Chowdhury, the Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha said, apparently referring to the General's remarks on student's protests, which were seen as a comment on the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act demonstrations in the country.

Tewari also wanted to know the position of the CDS with that of the Defence Secretary. “Would the Defense Secretary in terms of Rule 11 of Transaction of Business Rules continue to be the administrative head of the Defense Ministry? What is the remit/mandate of the proposed Department of Military Affairs,” he asked.

“Would the CDS override the Service Chiefs with regard tri-Service agencies and organisations. What are the implications of the appointment of a CDS on Civil-Military Relations – the equilibrium of which has been India's singular Success since 1947? Are we down a portentous path,” the Congress leader asked.

(Published 31 December 2019, 14:29 IST)

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