Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday indicated that the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) could be a reality soon, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked defence reforms as a priority and stressed that “jointness at the top” was a need long overdue.
The post of CDS was recommended by a Group of Ministers in 2001.
Parrikar said that the Defence Ministry will also submit a report on various issues that Modi had raised during the annual Combined Commanders Conference held in Kochi on Tuesday.
“Should be,” Parrikar told reporters in New Delhi when asked if the post of a CDS could be a reality soon.
“Prime Minister has mentioned many things. We will be submitting a report on that soon. He has raised many issues and they are important issues,” he said.
If the recommendation for CDS is implemented, it would be the first major military reform by the Modi government besides changes being made in the procurement process.
Defence sources have said that the appointment of CDS is aimed at promoting “jointness at the top” when it comes to planning, operations and modernisation of the military.
Though India has a tri-service command, it is headed by a three-star officer and he is junior to the military chiefs who are four-star.
The post of the CDS is likely to be a four-star and he would be in-charge of the tri-services command at Andaman and Nicobar islands, the strategic command in-charge of nuclear weapons along with the upcoming cyber and space command.
Prime Minister had on Tuesday called for “jointness at the top” of the military establishment.
Stating that the country has been slow to reform the structures within the armed forces, he had added, “We should shorten the tooth-to-tail ratio. And, we should promote jointness across every level of our Armed Forces.
“We wear different colours, but we serve the same cause and bear the same flag. Jointness at the top is a need that is long overdue.”
Pitching for reforms, including in senior defence management, he further said, “It is sad that many defence reform measures proposed in the past have not been implemented. This is an area of priority for me.”
Meanwhile, asked about the concern in the military about the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, Parrikar said that he will see to it that their concerns are addressed.
Talking about India’s concerns on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism that he raised in his meeting with US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter in Washington last week, Parrikar said the reaction was “very good”.
“They have taken note of the concerns we have expressed,” he said.