No new 4-star Gen in a hurry: Antony

Chief Of Staff Comittee: Appointment ruled out,political views to be taken.

Written by Manu Pubby | New Delhi | Published: December 7, 2013 1:21 am

Making it clear that there is no imminent appointment of a new four-star officer in the armed forces as has been recommended by the Naresh Chandra Committee,the Defence Ministry has said no hasty decision will be taken on the matter and the view of political parties on matters of such importance will be sought before taking the next step.

Virtually dismissing reports that the government is set to appoint Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh as the first Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) in the next few months,top Defence Ministry sources said the issue has to be first discussed at length with all stakeholders.

“No decision will be taken in haste. A broad view of political parties may also be needed before such a major change in the top military leadership structure,” sources said,underlining that the appointment of a permanent COSC is linked to the issue of appointment of a five-star Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for which political consensus has still not been reached.

Officials have also said reports that a new Army Chief would be appointed next month to replace Gen Bikram Singh are incorrect and no such move is being considered by the Defence Ministry. In fact,Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Dalbir Singh,who is in line to take over as the next Army Chief,is set to be appointed as the Vice Chief of Army Staff on December 31.

“Serious discussion in required among various stakeholders on a permanent COSC for the armed forces. The matter will finally be taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) after various opinions have been considered,” sources said.

While the issue of a five star CDS — a single point contact of the armed forces with the government — has been hanging fire for over a decade after it was recommended by the Kargil review committee,the more recent Naresh Chandra Committee has suggested the appointment of a Permanent Chairman of COSC who would fully dedicate his time to tri-services matters. The armed forces have also endorsed this suggestion,holding that the appointment of a four-star General would be an acceptable ‘interim’ measure before achieving the ‘final goal’ of a CDS.

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