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MoD thumbs down to CDS

india Updated: Jul 20, 2006 03:11 IST
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The Ministry of Defence is of the opinion that the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is likely to have an adverse impact on the skills and specialized functions of individual services -- viz., the army, navy and air force.

This has been stated by the MoD in its reply to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, which had observed that the government had done precious little for the creation of the post of CDS despite recommendations to this effect.

The MoD has stated that unlike countries like the US, UK, Australia and China, where the CDS system has been adopted, India has a very large land army and extensive land borders to defend.

It argues that armed forces have a mainly defensive role and are non-expeditionary in character. “Therefore, drawing an exact parallel between India and the countries under consideration, in so far as the institution of the CDS system is concerned, may not be appropriate and the CDS system has to take into account peculiar Indian conditions.”

On the adverse effects the office of the CDS may bring, the MoD says it “is likely to lead to unreliability of military advice, as no specialisation or operational functions are being entrusted to CDS”.

It also says the addition of one more layer of decision-making in the form of CDS could lead to further delays.

Dilution of the functions of the MoD, Service Chiefs and Defence Finance in areas of long-term plans and budgets; possibility of higher budgetary demands through CDS and differences and apprehensions within the three services are the other arguments put forth in the reply.

Though the MoD has also listed points in favour of CDS -- like single point military advice to the government, better management of strategic resources, better inter-service coordination and integrated decision making -- it has brought out the points against CDS which more force.

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