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?

Published: October 19, 2019

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.