Chief of Defence Staff - CDS

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 21, 2022, 11:03

In the Indian Military Services, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is the highest-ranking uniformed officer. The CDS is the military head and chairs the Chiefs of Staff Committee of the Indian Armed Forces. Also, the CDS 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. However, his term as a CDS was small as he died in an unfortunate helicopter crash. After his demise, the position of CDS is currently unoccupied; however, the post of the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee is presently held by Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane.

Chief of Defence Staff History

Although the Chief of Defence Staff post was created in 2019, 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 the re-organization of 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. Then in 2019, under the leadership of the incumbent Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the historic decision of creating the position of CDS was made. On 24th December 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Security decided to create the post of the CDS, followed by the appointment of India's first CDS on 30th December 2019.

Uniforms and Insignia of the Chief of Defence Staff

The dress of the Chief of Defence Staff comprises an appropriate coloured 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 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 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 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 the military affairs and works closely with the Ministry of Defence to maintain national security. It is a strategic position created in 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.

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FAQs on Chief of Defence Staff

Q.1. When was the first Chief of Defence Staff appointed in India?

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

Q.2. Who was the first Chief of Defence Staff in India?

The first Chief of Defence Staff in India was Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

Q.3. What are the three components of the gold-wreathed tri-service emblem?

The three components of the gold-wreathed tri-service emblem are:

  1. Naval Anchor
  2. Crossed Army Swords
  3. Air Force Eagle

Q.4. When was the decision to create the Chief of Defence Staff post passed by the Indian Parliament?

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