A Department of Military Affairs (DMA) has been created in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and it will be headed by the incoming Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat , who will take charge on Wednesday.
The notification, issued by the Cabinet Secretariat dated December 30, states that the CDS will head the DMA and function as a Secretary in the MoD. As per the guidelines approved by the government last week, the CDS will also function as the Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister and as the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
On Tuesday, Gen Rawat demited the office of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) on superannuation and Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane took charge as the 28th COAS.
“India has been on the receiving end of terrorism for a long time and it is only now the entire world and many countries affected by it are coming to realise what a threat it is,” said Gen Naravane after assuming office.
DMA fifth department in MoD
The DMA will be the fifth department in the MoD. The existing ones are the Department of Defence, the Department of Defence Production, the Department of Defence Research and Development and the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.
As per the guidelines, the DMA would deal with the armed forces; the integrated headquarters of the MoD, comprising the Army, Naval and Air and defence staff headquarters; the Territorial Army; and works relating to the three Services and procurement exclusive to them except capital acquisitions.
The broad mandate of the CDS includes bringing about a jointness in “operations, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three Services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office.”
The DMA’s mandate includes promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the Services; facilitating restructuring of the military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about a jointness in operations, including through the establishment of joint/theatre commands and promoting use of indigenous equipment.
Army officials stated that the CDS would have an office in South Block and shall continue to wear the uniform of the parent service. However, the rank badges and accoutrements of the CDS woulf reflect jointness, integration and synergy, an officer said. The CDS will have a new Peak cap, shoulder rank badges, belt buckle and a new car flag.
Talking of cross-border terrorism, Gen. Naravane said that as far as the neighbours are concerned they were “trying to use terrorism as a tool of state policy” and as a way of carrying out a proxy war against India while maintaining deniability. “However, this state cannot last long. As they say you cannot fool all the people all the time. So they may try this, but they will not succeed,” he told news agency ANI.
On the situation along the Line of Control (LoC), Gen. Naravane said ceasefire violations continued and there were terrorists on the other side at various launch pads waiting to cross over. “We are fully prepared to meet this threat. We have a strong counter-insurgency and counter-terror grid, which we keep modifying as per inputs we receive. We are prepared for any eventuality,” he asserted.
Gen Naravane is the third Army Chief from the Sikh Light Regiment after Gen. VP Malik and Gen. Bikram Singh. He had been the Vice Chief of the Army Staff since early September. Prior to that, he served as the Eastern Army Commander and Commander, Army Training Command (ARTRAC).
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy, Gen. Naravane was commissioned into the 7th Battalion, The Sikh Light Infantry Regiment, in June 1980. He has commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in Kashmir, served in the Assam Rifles and has been part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka during ‘Operation Pawan’. He has also served as Defence Attache to Myanmar.