CDS will bring in synergy, say experts

C. Uday Bhaskar. File

C. Uday Bhaskar. File  


‘He has to take Service Chiefs along’

The government’s approval for the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is a welcome move to bring in synergy among the three Services at the higher level and optimise resource utilisation, say experts. However, it needs a change in the mindset of all stakeholders and the CDS has to take the three Service Chiefs along to achieve the mandate, they observed.

The CDSwill be a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. The CDS will head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to be created within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and function as its Secretary and also as the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).

It has taken 18 years and the long political trajectory from Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Narendra Modi for the creation of the CDS, observed Cmde C Uday Bhaskar (retd.), Director, Society for Policy Studies, while terming the creation of a new department, DMA, with the CDS at the helm and the dual roles as Secretary to Government of India and Permanent Chairman COSC as “very innovative.”

“Wearing two hats, he will also be functioning as a Secretary in the MoD that already has four Secretaries. Evolving a stable hierarchy and equivalence for the CDS with the civilian bureaucracy will call for some deft give and take by all the principal stakeholders,” he told The Hindu.

Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, Former Northern Army Commander said the government’s intent seems to be the long-term restructuring as the responsibilities include establishment of theatre commands. Another positive step, he said, was the three-year time frame to the first CDS to bring about jointness in several areas including operations, logistics, transport and training. “If the CDS is able to do that, it will be a positive step and will lead to further integration,” he said.

However, to achieve this, he added, “The Services will also have to slightly change their mindset from a Service-oriented mindset to a more joint approach.”

Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia (retd.), Director, Centre for Joint Warfare Studies said the post has the requisite mandate and authority and the first CDS will lay the foundation for the others to follow. For this, he said, the CDS should consolidate the headquarters of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and the charter and has to “carry the three Services along as the first among equals and ensure that the DMA is keyed into the apex decision making level.”

“The CDS has to ensure the transition of the Indian military from a military force into a military power,” Lt. Gen. Bhatia said terming optimal utilisation of the defence budget, ensuring defence preparedness and capability development, capacity enhancement and jointness as priority areas.

Theatre commands

On the reorganisation of the military into theatre commands, Lt. Gen. Bhatia said the transition, acceptability and execution will take time.

“Theatre commands will follow but the first priority is the relevance and the consolidation of the mandate and authority of the CDS. As ex officio secretary he has financial powers. Optimal utilisation of financial resources is the top priority. On the possible limitations in the charter of the CDS, Lt. Gen. Hooda said the whole operational aspect has been left out.

“If he is somewhere in the operational planning loop, he can advise in the time of crisis. May be over a period of time he should be given more responsibilities in operations,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:32:53 PM |

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