The Defence Ministry could in the next “few months” finalise higher defence reforms to bring in jointness among the three armed services which will include creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar admitted that the services did not want to leave their “turf” but they have “slowly” come to understand that jointness would be much better than individual separate forces.
“I am very clear on it but there were certain aspects which need to be also taken along. I have to take all the three services on board. Let me be very clear, no one wants to leave his turf,” he said during a book launch on Thursday night. Underlining that he was not speaking in Indian military context alone, Parrikar said across the militaries, the same situation prevailed. He added that the question was whether one will “force it down the throat” or get everyone on board.
“I think, I have been discussing with the chiefs and slowly they have also come to understanding that jointness would be much better than individually separate forces,” he said, seeking a “few more months”. However, the Defence Minister made it clear that the final call would be taken by the Prime Minister.
Incidentally, the chiefs of both the Army and the Air Force will retire this year end. Without naming any operation, he said though India has not gone for jointness, “recent operations” were quite successful joint operations. “The Air Force and the Army integrated so well in recent operations, not saying which operation. There was total synergy and there was no problem in working together,” he remarked.
The post of CDS was recommended in 2001 by a Group of Ministers (GoM) which was set up in April 2000 to review the national security system in the aftermath of the Kargil War. The recommendation, if implemented, would be the first major military reform by the Narendra Modi government, which has already announced significant changes in the procurement process.