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India gets her first Chief of Defence Staff

A Draft Correspondent | New Delhi

With the appointment of General Bipin Rawat, India got her first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on New Year's Eve 2019. The move underlines the intent of the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's firm resolve to unify the forces. Now, India joins over 70 countries including the US, UK, France, Germany that have CDS-like posts for integration in military planning and operations.

General Rawat was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978 and was serving as the Chief of Army Staff since 1 January 2017. His tenure as the CDS comes into effect from 31 December 2019 and will hold the office until further orders and extension in service. General Rawat took charge as CDS after a tri-services guard of honour.

The officer is decorated with PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM and ADC to the Supreme Commander. An alumnus of St Edward School in Shimla and the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla, Pune, he was commissioned into the 11th Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army from IMA Dehradun where he was awarded the 'Sword of Honour'.

The CDS is in the rank of a four-star General and will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on all tri-services matters (Army, Navy and Air Force). All tri-services agencies, organisations and commands related to Cyber and Space will be under the command of the CDS who will function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority. He will head the newly-created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the Defence Ministry and function as its secretary.

Several ministers and members of the Indian polity welcomed the high-level military reform. As CDS, General Rawat will provide single-point military advice to the government; manage the country's strategic resources and nuclear arsenal better; streamline long-term defence planning and procurement processes; bring synergy among the Army, Navy and the Air Force by resolving inter-service doctrinal, planning, procurement and operational issues and integrate the Service headquarters with the Ministry of Defence to reduce the civil-military divide.

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