NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handpicked Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat was on Monday appointed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a day before he was to step down on superannuation.
“Government has decided to appoint Gen Bipin Rawat as the CDS with effect from December 31, 2019 and until further orders and extension of Gen Bipin Rawat with effect from December 31, 2019 and till such period he holds the office of CDS,” The Hindu said quoting the defence ministry late on Monday evening.
Gen Rawat is set to retire as the Army Chief on Dec 31 on completing three years of tenure and will assume charge as the CDS. Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen MM Naravane is scheduled to take over as the 28th Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
In Dec 2015, the Modi government had appointed Gen Rawat as the Army Chief by superseding two senior officers Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi and Lt. Gen. P. M. Hariz, and both have since retired.
According to an official Gazette dated December 28 the upper age limit for the CDS has been fixed at 65 years of age. However, the tenure of CDS has not been fixed. Service Chiefs have a tenure of three years or 62 years of age whichever is earlier and it remains unchanged. As Gen Rawat has not reached 62 years of age, his tenure as CDS could be longer than his tenure as the COAS unless the Government fixes the tenure of CDS at a later stage, The Hindu said.
Last week the Union Cabinet approved the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who will be a four star General and will function as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister and also as the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
The CDS will head the new Department of Military Affairs in the Defence Ministry and function as a Secretary to Government.
Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019