CDS of India – Current Chief of Defence Staff, CDS of Indian Army

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

CDS of India: 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. Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (R) has been appointed as the current CDS of India in September 2022.

The announcement reflected the government’s multi-sectoral urgency to initiate reform. The appointment established a single point of contact for all Defence issues and will serve to strengthen inter-service cooperation to ensure operational synergy. Let’s read about the CDS of India, their duties, functions, and challenges, and analyze their importance.

CDS of India: 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.

Current CDS of India

The Current CDS of India is Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (R). 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) was elected as the second CDS and is the Present CDS of India. Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane presently holds the post of the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

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; the second Chief of Defence Staff, filled in the shoes of Late Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

CDS in India  Details
Status Four-star officer
Formation 24 December 2019
Residence New Delhi
Appointer Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
First holder General Bipin Rawat
Member of Chiefs of Staff CommitteeNational Security Council

Defence Acquisition Council

Defence Planning Committee

Nuclear Command Authority

Defence Cyber Agency

Defence Space Agency

Reports to Ministry of Defence
Precursor Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
Term of Office Three years until the age of 65; whichever comes first

CDS of Indian Army: Uniforms and Insignia

The dress of the CDS of India 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 Indian Army 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 comprise three services – the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. It is worth noting that the President of India is the supreme Armed Forces commander. The Chiefs of the three Armed Forces in India have been 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.

Advantages of Present CDS of India

The appointment of the present CDS of India 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. The first challenge is to be conscious that observers will interpret his judgments and sections to determine whether he is the representative of the forces who negotiate with the government or is he the representative of the government.

The second challenge is the theaterisation of India to battle forthcoming wars. There have been altercations both in favor and against such a measure, possibly the most powerful opposition arrived from the Indian Air Force.

  • To most watchers, it seemed like a try by the CDS office to support IAF to theatre captains and destroy its personal identity as a service completely.
  • He must walk through the tightrope between the future of the challenging potential of the country: government, its officials, its economics, its R & D, and its military-industrial complex.
  • The present CDS of India would be analyzed on how he deals with all the scenarios and the initiatives taken up by his predecessor.

CDS of India UPSC

CDS of India, or Chief of Defence Staff refers to the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the Indian Military Services. Students must know about the current CDS of India, his roles and responsibilities, challenges, and more. It is advised that aspirants download CDS of India UPSC notes from this article and learn all the relevant details about the topic.

Candidates must be familiarized with all the contemporary developments regarding the CDS of India through Current Affairs for UPSC. You can also refer to Current Affairs Questions and answers to stay up-to-date with the latest news and events happening in and around the world.

CDS of India Sample Questions

Question: Who was the first Chief of Defence Staff in India? (1) General Bipin Rawat, (2) General Manoj Pande, (3) Lt. General Anil Chauhan, (4) General MM Naravane
Answer: General Bipin Rawat

Question: What is not true in reference to Chief of Defence Staff? (1) He is member of Defence Planning Committee, (2) He is Chairman of Defence Acquisition Council, (3) Maximum age limit for this post is 65 years, (4) He is permanent Chairman of Chief of Staff Committee
Answer: He is Chairman of Defence Acquisition Council

Question: With reference to the Chief of Defence Staff, consider the following statements: (1) The Chief heads the Department of Military Affairs, (2) CDS is the military head and permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) of the Indian Armed Forces. Which of the statements is/are correct? (A) Both 1 & 2, (B) Only 2, (C) Only 1, (D) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: Both 1 & 2

Mains Question: A post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) would resolve many security problems and challenges in India.” Analyse.

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