PM Modi in his speech on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day along with focus on water conservation, call against single use plastics, population explosion and a number of growth areas from Red Fort has also made the much critical and awaited announcement of setting up the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). According to initial reports CDS will be a ‘first among equals’, a fourth four-star officer who will be senior to the three other service chiefs.
As India explores the new paradigm after major political and strategic developments in the two newly created union territories, PM Modi by this announcement has again reiterated government’s firm stand regarding national security.
This move is also in line with the recent developments in warfare over the past few years; essentially the conventional forces on land, air and the sea have transformed to take form of a composite which consists of all conventional three added with cyber, economic and psychological warfare. It is widely accepted that future engagements of such nature will be hybrid in nature.
Setting up of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is poised to give a huge boost to India’s efforts towards integrating several domains in the India’s security profile into a more synergistic system, however it is to note that efforts in this regard are already underway and appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will only streamline and accelerate these processes.
— Neeraj Rajput (@neeraj_rajput) August 16, 2019
The appointment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will also create a new junction of communication and co-ordination between the PM led executive and the military, which essentially translates to having direct and enhanced attention of the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and the National Security Advisor (NSA).
First recommended after 1999 Kargil War, the demand for having a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has been raised on multiple occasions by experts and veterans to ensure better communication and coordination between different arms of the Indian defence forces. Along with major streamlining at the operational level of the military, CDS will also help the armed forces to endure political executive much efficiently which usually lacks a finer understanding of the functioning of Armed Forces specially their distinct operational and tactical priorities.
Creation of a Chief of Defence Staff can also possibly catalyze setting up of theatre commands or joint commands in which various arms of the defence forces participate as a single unit during wars and conflicts. In joint or theatre commands a single commander in a specific region commands all the resources of the defence establishment be it the Army, the Navy or the Air Force.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is set to provide coherence to the entire efforts for developing innovative future policies and doctrines relating to security. The announcement by PM Modi only shows India’s commitment towards being a responsible member of the international community and a proactive partner in making South Asia safer which impacts more than a billion people.