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73rd Independence Day 2019- ‘India will have Chief of Defence Staff’: PM Narendra Modi announces ‘game-changer’ military reform

India cannot afford to have one of three forces moving ahead or lagging behind, there will have to move in coordination, the Prime Minister said announcing the government will soon have a CDS.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2019 11:31 IST
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation during Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort in Delhi, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, August 15, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation during Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort in Delhi, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, August 15, 2019. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
         

India will soon have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day.

The CDS will act as a one-point reference for the Prime Minister in all security matters, especially military. It is a key higher defence reform and is also billed as a ‘game-changer’. The CDS will be drawn from armed forces, in all likelihood the senior-most of three chiefs of staff.

The need to have CDS has been underlined on several occasions in the past. Previous governments, however, were reluctant.

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“To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort: India will have a Chief of Defence Staff- CDS. This is going to make the forces even more effective,” the Prime Minister said when addressing the nation.

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Addressing the nation the Prime Minister stressed on the need for more joint manship between the forces. The Prime Minister referred to the changing security situation and changes in technology. India cannot afford to have one of three forces moving ahead or lagging behind, there will have to move in coordination, the Prime Minister said announcing the government will soon have a CDS.

The K Subrahmanyam committee – set up to look at defence reform in a holistic manner after the 1999 Kargil war – recommended the appointment of a Chief of Defense Staff. Subsequently, the Naresh Chandra committee was set up to suggest reforms in higher defence management, it also underscored the importance of a CDS but pitched for a watered-down version in terms of a permanent Chairman Joint Chief of Staff.

Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had hinted that government would soon create a post of Chief of Defence Staff several years ago. But the CDS was seen to have lost its main backer in the government after Parrikar moved back to his home state – Goa – as the Chief Minister. He died in March 2019 after prolonged illness.

First Published: Aug 15, 2019 09:47 IST

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