The Cabinet Committee on Security on Tuesday approved the creation of the post of a chief of defence staff of the Indian Armed Forces, NDTV reported. The appointee will be higher in rank than the chiefs of the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, addressing the media, said the chief of defence staff will be a four-star general from either the Army, the Air Force or the Navy. He will also head the Department of Military Affairs and be paid a salary equal to a service chief, the minister said.
The chief of defence staff will function as a single point of contact for different branches of the Indian Armed Forces. He will also be the military advisor to the Indian government. The term of the post has not yet been determined.
At present, the chairperson of the chiefs of staff committee is Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat. However, his post is not equivalent to that of a chief of defence staff.
A committee set up following the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan had recommended the creation of the post of a chief of defence staff. The Naresh Chandra Task Force in 2012 had recommended creating the post of a permanent chairperson of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his Independence Day address this year first announced that such a post would be created. “Our forces are India’s pride,” Modi said. “To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort: India will have a chief of defence staff, CDS. This is going to make the forces even more effective.”