The Prime Minister has announced creation of the office of Defence Staff but its modalities are still being worked out. How CDS will transform India’s national security scenario?

The announcement by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, about the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), received a widespread welcome. The announcement added a new and complex dimension to India’s national security paradigm.

Significance of CDS

  • The office of CDS carries with it a whole eco-system that could transform India’s national security, if correctly implemented.
  • As the senior-most armed forces officer and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, the CDS would be the military adviser to the PM and RM.
  • The CDS would oversee the integration of the armed forces HQs with the civilian MoD and implement “jointness” amongst the three armed forces, progressively ushering in the theatre command concept
  • The CDS would have a key role in the nuclear command chain and would evolve a prioritised tri-service perspective plan for force modernisation and enable fiscal support.
  • This tri-service perspective plan for force modernisation and enable fiscal support would be immeasurably facilitated by the issuance of a national security doctrine/strategy which highlights national aims, objectives and interests, and clearly defines the military wherewithal required to achieve them.

Need Clarity

The modalities of CDS are still not clear. There is a lack of clarity on the roles of the Raksha Mantri (RM), the Chiefs of Staff and the Defence Secretary vis-a-vis the NSA in the new ambit of national security decision-making.

Published: October 19, 2019 | Modified:December 1, 2019

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