Doval panel submits report on CDS appointment rules

PTI file photo

India may expect to have its first Chief of Defence Staff within a month or two as a high-level panel headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has submitted its report to the Cabinet Committee on Security laying the ground rules that need to followed for such an appointment.

Set up soon after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's August 15 address in which he announced the government's decision to pick up the CDS, the Doval panel has finished the task of framing the rules to select India's first CDS, who would be the government's single-point military advisor.

The BJP-led coalition government on Wednesday selectively shared the information to a section of media.

The creation of the post of the CDS was suggested nearly two decades ago by the Kargil Review Committee. The KRC suggestion was endorsed in 2001 by a Group of Minister headed by then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

But the subsequent governments didn't move on the proposal citing lack of political consensus to create a post of a powerful military leader. Ending years of speculations, the decision was finally announced by Modi on August 15.

The implementation panel, headed by the NSA, recommended an age limit of 64 for the CDS, who would be a four-star officer and serve as one among the equals.

While the day to day functioning and operations of the Army, Air Force and Navy would be under the command of the respective Service Chiefs, the CDS would be playing a key role in overall planning and management of the armed forces so that assets are distributed properly.

The three Services currently coordinate their work under the twin frameworks of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and Chairman, Chief of Staff Committees (COSC). After the CDS appointment, both offices would be subsumed into the CDS structure.

Even though the three Service Chiefs and senior commanders would be in the contention for the post of the CDS, government sources said Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat who would retire on December 31, was a front-runner for the post.

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