Updated: December 30, 2019 3:54:37 am
The Central government on Saturday notified the retirement age for the newly created post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as 65 years, which will be three years more than the retirement age of the three service chiefs.
The service chiefs, when appointed, are usually given a tenure of three years or till they attain the age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. There is no mention of a fixed tenure in the gazette notification stating the retirement age for the CDS.
The Union Cabinet had cleared the appointment of the CDS on December 24 in a four-star rank at par with the three service chiefs. He would be responsible for achieving “jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services” within three years of assuming office.
As per the Cabinet decision, the CDS will also serve as the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) which comprises the three service chiefs. So far, the chairmanship of the COSC has not been permanent and is held in rotation by the senior-most service chief, which has caused problems of inadequate attention and short tenures as Chairman, COSC.
General Bipin Rawat, the outgoing Army Chief, who retires on December 31, is seen as the frontrunner to be named as the first CDS. As the seniormost service chief, he holds the post of Chairman, COSC, which he was scheduled to hand over to the Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Friday.
Long-awaited defence reform
The creation of the post of CDS is a long-awaited higher defence reform and giving the incumbent a stable tenure is a healthy move. The role and charter of the CDS has also been defined with a view to spur further defence reforms.
But the Defence Ministry announced at the last minute that the ceremony had been postponed to December 31. The sudden postponement of the ceremony led to speculation that an announcement of the name of the new CDS was expected in the next couple of days.
A shortlist of five officers is believed to have been prepared by the ministry for the cabinet committee on appointments to take a decision. It has been assumed that as the biggest service among the three, the Army will have the first CDS and this may subsequently be rotated among the two other smaller services.
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