Gen Anil Chauhan on September 30, 2022 assumed charge as the country’s second Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The post has been vacant for over nine months since the death of the first CDS Gen Bipin Rawat in a chopper crash in December 2021.
This is the first instance since independence, of a three-star Lieutenant General rank officer taking over as a four-star General after retirement.
Also read | Gen. Bipin Rawat (1958-2021)
Gen Chauhan laid a wreath at the National War Memorial and later inspected a tri-service Guard of Honour on South Block lawns before formally assuming charge. He later called on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in his South Block office.
Gen Chauhan has a huge task of taking forward the transformation and reorganisation of the armed forces, stalled due to the death of Gen Rawat. Top among them is the reorganisation of the military into theatre commands, on which consensus among the military remains elusive even after extensive deliberations over two years. For instance, after extensive studies and table top exercises, the Air Force has put forward the view that a separate air defence command would be “counter-productive.”
He was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981 and has served a range of staff and operational appointments including that of Director General of Military Operations. Gen Chauhan took over as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Command in September 2019 which he held until his retirement from service on May 31, 2021.
As per charter, the CDS is a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. The CDS is first among equals with respect to the three Service Chiefs. The CDS heads the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), the fifth department created in the Ministry of Defence, as its Secretary. He is also the Principal Military Adviser to Defence Minister and Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
No tenure was defined by the Government in his appointment, with a Defence Ministry statement only saying “with effect from the date of his assumption of charge and until further orders.” This gives Gen Chauhan a long tenure as there is no tenure defined for the CDS unlike for Service Chiefs. For instance, the tenure of Service Chiefs is 62 years of age or three years whichever is earlier, while the maximum age limit for the CDS is 65 years of age with no tenure defined.