All About Chief Of Defence Staff (CDS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday addressed the nation on the 73rd Independence Day at the Red Fort. He unfurled the National Flag by 7.30 and delivered the customary speech to the country. During his speech, he announced the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).


  1. Appointment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
  2. Creation of Jal Jeevan Mission.
  3. Victory over Triple Talaq and Abrogation of 370.
  4. Control of Population.
  5. Environment Concern (Use of Jute Bags)
  6. Promotion of Tourism In India.

CDS will be responsible for integrating the operations of the three forces – the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.

PM said that armed force is the pride of India. To sharpen the coordination between forces and to cope up with the modern nature of war and security in the world, such a measure was necessary. He said that CDS would only make the force more productive and would provide significant assistance to reform the defence and strategic endeavours.

He also stated that “Once this post is created, it will provide effective leadership at the topmost level of the three forces.”

Now the question is how it will affect Indian and the armed force?

What is CDS?

The Chief of Defence Staff is a single point advisory to the government in matters related to the military. It will coordinate long-term planning, procurements, training and logistics of the three services.

The coordination among the three forces has become essential as the future war would be sudden and network-centric. Moreover, the stress on resources is increasing, and defence budgets remain flat. So the only step ahead is the optimisation of resources by joint planning and training.

Who will head the CDS?

The officer appointed as the CDS will head all the three arms of the military. The three forces will remain to have their chiefs. However, the four-star officers leading these three services will report to the Chief of Defence Staff, an officer with five-star.

After the Kargil war 1999, there was a high recommendation for India to have a Chief of Defence Staff. The high-level committee, which was appointed to review the shortcoming of the security system during the conflict, suggested this. But, the advice was not taken into consideration.

In 2012, the Naresh Chandra task force had suggested forming a permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. It was decided that a four-star rank officer would lead, but this faced some resistance. Instead, the military had the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) that comprised of all the three service chiefs.

However, the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee does not exercise real power like Chief of Defence Staff. Currently, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa is heading the COSC.

Aim of CDS

  • The CDS has been built to have a professional body of the highest standing to facilitate ‘joint manship’.
  • CDS will provide single-point military advice to the government on affairs of national security.
  • It is designed to mitigate possible differences in service-specific opinions to ease the government to arrive at considered military decisions.
  • It will act as a link between the three National Command Authority. CDS will advise the government on various aspects involved in the use of the nuclear weapon.

However, this institution is best justified by the importance of strategising for a robust and cost-efficient national defence policy. CDS will play a significant role in encouraging inter-services jointness budgeting, equipment purchases, training, joint doctrines and planning of military operations-an imperative of modern warfare.

Resistance on CDS

Several concerns stirred about the CDS and its functioning. There was internal resistance noting that there will be the marginalisation of service headquarters and the dilution of the defence bureaucracy’s grip on military decision-making. Many argued that the National Security Advisor, service chiefs and Strategic Force Commander would be best to carry out the advisory role on nuclear strategy. It was also stated that such a measure was unworkable considering the current military leadership and inadequate experience in an inter-services operational command. Moreover, the governments were also uncertain of the CDS.

The Defence Minister is now required to take the initiative in forming this position and is expected to take a few months.

Now let me ask you, What is your opinion regarding CDS? How far do you think will it work? Why did the government opt for such a move all of a sudden? Has the abrogation of Article 370 to do something with this unexpected announcement? As steps towards creating CDS progresses, we can hope all our questions will be answered.

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