Outgoing Army chief General Bipin Rawat has been appointed the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), effective December 31. Rawat will retire as the Chief of Army Staff on the same day. As CDS, Rawat will have salary and perquisites at par with the three services chiefs and will head the newly created Department of Military Affairs in the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
The decision comes a week after the Union Cabinet on December 24 approved the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as the principal military adviser to the government. The CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three services chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership.
The four-star rank, however, will 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.
The CDS will also bring about reforms in the functioning of three services aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure, while ensuring optimal utilisation of infrastructure and rationalising it through jointness among the services. On Saturday, the Centre notified the retirement age for the newly created post as 65 years, which will be three years more than the retirement age of the three service chiefs.
With Rawat joining the new post, Vice Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane is set to replace him as the Army chief. He will serve till April 2022, when he turns 62.
Rawat was in the news recently over his remarks on the ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, saying those at the helm of the protests were “leading masses”, to carry out arson and violence in cities. The Congress and other Opposition parties had slammed him for ‘political’ remarks.
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