CDS should be adequately empowered: Navy Chief

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh. Photo by PTI

The post of Chief of Defence Staff should be adequately empowered to carry out strategically important plans relating to India's security challenges, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said on Tuesday.

Addressing his annual press conference ahead of the Navy Day, Singh also complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the historic decision to create the post of CDS which will be the single-point military adviser to the government.

"The CDS should be adequately empowered. We have given our inputs to the government on the issue," he said, replying to a question.

In a landmark military reform, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on August 15 announced that India will have the CDS as head of the tri-services with an aim to ensure greater coordination among the Navy, the Army and the Indian Air Force.

Days after the prime minister's announcement, an Implementation Committee headed by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval was appointed to finalise an enabling framework and determine the exact responsibilities for the CDS.

The committee has already submitted its report to the government and it is likely making an announcement within the next two weeks to appoint the CDS.

Official sources said the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force have already recommended to the defence ministry names of their senior-most commanders for the top position

Government sources said Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat remains a front-runner for the post.

Gen. Rawat is due for retirement on December 31 and top government sources said, if everything goes according to plan, then the government would name him as the country's first CDS before he hangs up his boots.

The sources said the CDS will be a four-star general and will be the first among equals among the service chiefs. However, in the list of protocol, the CDS will be higher up than the service chiefs.

The main task of the CDS will be to ensure joint manship among the three services which will include powers to work on setting up of few theatre commands as well as to allocate military assets among the services to synergise their operations.

At present, the three services coordinate their work under the framework of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS). However, after the appointment of the CDS, the IDS would be subsumed into the new structure.

A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country's security system in the wake of the Kargil war in 1999 had called for the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff as a single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister.

A group of ministers analysing required reforms in the national security system had also favoured appointing a Chief of Defence Staff.

In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Taskforce had recommended creating the post of a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. 

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