As the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as single-point advisor to the political leadership on matters of Defence is hanging fire for the last 15 years, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said he is working out a mechanism in this regard and will recommend it to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in the next two to three months.
The CDS was proposed by the Group of Ministers(GoM), headed by then Home Minister lK Advani, in 2000 in the wake of Kargil war. The GoM was asked to recommend measures to improve higher Defence management. The panel favoured the creation of CDS to advise the political leadership and have more synergy between the three Services and the Defence Ministry. However, the proposal has not fructified so far due to differences within the Armed Forces as to who will be the CDS. Successive Governments also failed to evolve political consensus. The envisaged CDS will be a five-star General, who will be senior than the three Services chiefs.
In this backdrop, Parrikar said here the integration of the three Services is a must and that he is working out a mechanism for the creation of the post of CDS with a fixed tenure. Parrikar said he will recommend the mechanism in the next “two-three months”, noting it is important to move away from the thinking of “we” and “they” between the Defence Ministry and the three Services.
“Integration has to be there and Chief of Defence Staff is a must. How do you work it outIJ Give me some time and I will work it out because the three forces’ integration does not exist in the present structure,” Parrikar said. Giving an example of a situation where a helicopter is needed, the Minister said the protocol for the air force and army for the same is different. Clarifying that he was not criticising, Parrikar said force integration and requirement integration as well as overlapping will save us money.
At present, India has a Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee which Parrikar described as “virtually a figure head”. He said, CDS should be able to have discussion with all three Services and be able to work out specific requirements and needs.