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Chief of Defense Staff- An Asset to the Indian Armed Forces

India is a Nation with huge landmass and an overwhelming population which ultimately demands the existence of a well-established defense system. It is the utmost requirement of our nation to continuously work upon the proximities and possibilities to enhance its defense system.

Appointment of Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) by the Indian government can be considered as one such step ahead in enhancing the whole defense. CDS can be defined as the head of all the three branches of armed forces that exist in India i.e. The Indian Army, The Indian Navy, and The Indian Air Force.

The Government of the day believes in taking valiant decisions which on one hand, proves to be helpful to a particular society but on the other hand, is totally disregarded by the other strata’s resulting in conflicts either internal or external.

In order to manage the internal conflicts, the police and other forces are present in plenty but when it comes to dealing with the conflicts with external elements of disturbance, our forces are little backpedaled as it can be observed in the war of 1962. This gave birth to the concept of a new post known as the Chief of Defense Staff.


The decision of such an appointment cannot be contemplated as a popped-up idea. There must have been various discussions and deliberations before actually bringing up this idea in force. The reasons behind the origin of this idea can be summed up as follows –

  • Lack of command and coordination – Due to the existence of three different forces with different chiefs, it must have been difficult to carry out missions and a sense of non-cooperation has existed among each other.

  • Assumption of future disturbance with neighboring Nations – Decisions by the Government such as Abolition of Article- 370 and Introduction of the Citizens Amendment Act (CAA) have definitely created an unstable environment across the border.

  • Some past committed mistakes – The war of 1962 tells us the bitter truth of the then Government which was unable to send the forces at the borders due to internal confusions in the government resulting in an unwanted defeat of our Nation.

Hence, in order to overcome the past committed mistakes and tackle the forthcoming challenges, the appointment of CDS has been decided.


The post of Chief of Defense Staff is a 4-star officer who is selected from the chiefs of the current Indian Armed Forces. He is nominated by the appointment committee of the cabinet ministers and will be finally appointed by the President of India.

Serving a period of 3 years, he/she will work as an advisor to the PM and involve in the defense planning for the Nation. The department of Military Affairs (DMA) has been created and will be headed by the CDS under the Ministry of Defense. The post of CDS will be covered under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

General Bipin Rawat has been appointed as the first CDS of India and will serve a full three years till December 2022.


Various powers have been given to the CDS so that, he/she is capable of performing roles and functions assigned by the Government. These can be understood as follows –

  • The CDS will be heading the Department of Military Affairs along with advising the government on defense issues.

  • He will be the head of all the three armed forces- Air force, Army, Navy of the Indian subcontinent although, will not exercise any military command.

  • Advisor of the Nuclear Command Authority and act as a chairman of the chiefs of staff committee.

  • Facilitate the utilization of the available resources with the forces and help in the development of the defense system

  • Plan and Manage operations carried out by the forces and report about the same to the Prime Minister.

  • Ensure peace and integrity in the Nation by implementing Defense Acquisition plans and Developmental plans.


It can be made out that the appointment of CDS by the cabinet is a remarkable step towards building a secure and protected Nation. The direct contact between the Prime Minister and CDS will definitely result in more efficient communication and quick actions against the traitors.

Supremacy of CDS has although, being considered as a threat by some bureaucrats but it has been clearly established that He will only be an Inter-Service professional coordinator with individual Service Chiefs having the right of direct access to the Head of the Government.

Hence, it can be concluded that the appointment of CDS has proved to be an impressive step by the Government of the day, the result of which will be foreseen in the forthcoming years which further depends upon the continuity of the post with changing Governments.


Aniket Vashisth is currently pursuing Law from Maharaja Agarsen School of law.

You can contact them at- https://www.linkedin.com/in/aniket-vashisth-9a3486189/

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