Chief of Defence Staff: New CDS of India, Chief of Armed Forces

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : September 22nd, 2022

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), in the Indian Military Services, is the highest-ranking uniformed officer. The CDS of India is the military head and chairs the Chiefs of Staff Committee of the Indian Armed Forces. The announcement of India appointing its first CDS was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in 2019 from the Red Fort Chief. The announcement reflected the government's multi-sectoral urgency to initiate reform. The appointment will establish a single point of contact for all Defence issues and will serve to strengthen inter-service cooperation to ensure operational synergy. 

Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (R) has been appointed as the new CDS of India in September, 2022. Let's read about the Chief of Defence Staff in detail and analyze its implications for the upcoming UPSC Exam. The topic is of great importance, especially for the UPSC Prelims. 

Table of Content

Chief of Defence Staff: History

General K.V Krishna Rao first mooted the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff post in 1982. However, the Chief of Defence Staff post was created in 2019, and the discussion and debate around this post date back to 1999. After the Kargil War ended in 1999, the Kargil Review Committee, headed by K Subrahmanyam, recommended re-organizing the National Security Framework to improve the Indian defence system. 

Based on this recommendation, the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff post was proposed by the Group of Ministers in 2001. However, due to a lack of political support and consensus, the decision on this post remained impending. On 24th December 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Security decided to create the CDS post, followed by an appointment of the first CDS of India on 30th December 2019.

Who is the Chief of Defence Staff?

The Chief of Defence Staff is the chief advisor to the Ministry of Defence and heads the Department of Military affairs. It is noteworthy that India did not have a CDS until 2019, when Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat was appointed as the first Chief of Defence Staff on 30th December 2019. He took office on 1st January 2020. 

On 29 September 2022, the Government of India appointed Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (R) as the New CDS of India, filling in the shoes of Late Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

Defence Chief Of India 2022

Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat was appointed the first Defence Chief of India in 2022. He took office on 1st January 2020. However, his term as a CDS of India was small as he died in an unfortunate helicopter crash. After his demise, the position of CDS was vacant for almost nine months; however, in September, 2022, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (R) has been elected as the new CDS.

Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane presently holds the post of the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Chief of Defence Staff: Uniforms and Insignia

The dress of the Chief of Defence Staff comprises an appropriate colored uniform of the parent service and a gold-wreathed tri-service emblem of the Indian Armed Forces. The tri-service emblem has a Naval Anchor, Crossed Army Swords, and Air Force Eagle representing the three military units: the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. This emblem is used in service cap badges, uniform buttons, belt badge service insignia, and rank stars. 

The car pennant adorned by the CDS of India represents the parent service of the office. These badges and uniforms portray the highest position and power of the CDS in the Indian Military Services.

Chief of Defence Staff: Duties and Functions

The Chief of Defence Staff is the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He is also the head of the Department of Military Affairs. Besides, the CDS of India has the prime responsibility to implement the integration of the three military units: the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Also, he is entitled to assign priorities to inter-services in capital acquisition proposals. Moreover, the CDS of India leads the tri-service agencies and is an active national defence planning member.

The Chief of Defence Staff is the highest-ranking officer who commands the tri-services: the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. He heads military affairs and works closely with the Ministry of Defence to maintain national security. It is a strategic position created in the Indian Military Services in 2019 to harness the full potential of the Indian Defence Services. This post is vital for establishing coordination between the tri-forces and integrating their services.

Chief of Armed Forces in India

The Armed forces in India comprises three services- the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. The Chiefs of the three Armed Forces in India have mentioned below:

  • Chief of the Army Staff: General Manoj Pande
  • Chief of the Air Staff: Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari
  • Chief of the Naval Staff: Admiral R Hari Kumar

It is worth noting that the President of India is the supreme Armed Forces commander.

CDS of India: Advantages 

The following are the major advantages India will have when it comes to the appointment of a new Chief of Defence Staff:

  • The Chief of Defence Staff will lead to an increased synergy between tri-services.
  • It would lead to better planning and execution of critical and mission operations among armed service forces.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff would also effectively plan the acquisition and modernization of the armed forces' equipment.
  • The CDS would conform to the military structure at an international level.

CDS of India: Challenges 

The major and foremost challenge in selecting the Chief of Defence Staff is that if the seniormost officer made the CDS, he would be unable to make the necessary changes as his/her duration would be very short.

Chief of Defence Staff UPSC

The Chief of Defence Staff UPSC topic is extremely important for the upcoming UPSC 2023 Exam. Questions on CDS of India, its functions, and its role can be asked in UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains. The CDS topic is covered well under the UPSC GS Paper 3 Syllabus, specifically under the Internal Security topic.

Candidates must be updated with all the recent developments regarding the CDS of India through the Current Affairs.

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Chief of Defence Staff FAQs

  • India's first Chief of Defence Staff was appointed on 30th December 2019.

  • India's first Chief of Defence Staff was Late Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

  • Lt. General Anil Chauhan (R) is the new Chief of Defence Staff of India. He will function as Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Military Affairs.

  • The Indian Parliament passed the decision to create the Chief of Defence Staff post on 24th December 2019.

  • The three components of the gold-wreathed tri-service emblem for the CDS of India are:

    • Naval Anchor
    • Crossed Army Swords
    • Air Force Eagle

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