OPINION
APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF
A long due and welcome step
- VIPIN PUBBY
A long due and welcome step



The announcement by prime minister Narendra Modi that the country would have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is a long due and welcome step. This had been the need of defence forces since long and is in keeping with the requirements of modern warfare.

Most other democracies, including the United States, already have this system for better coordination among various wings of defence forces and for having a single-point link between the elected government and the defence services.

Currently the country has a coordination committee comprising the three chiefs of army, air force and navy. The chairman is the senior most among the three service chiefs. However since these officer are of equal rank, there had been problems in taking decisions. Also the chief of the committee was reporting to the Defence Secretary who would report to the Defence Minister and who, in turn, would report to the prime minister.
-----------
This is also the ideal time to integrate the services headquarters with the Ministry of Defence.
-----------
The proposed chief of defence staff would now directly report to the Defence Minister. He would be a rank higher than the three chiefs and would be in a position to take a stand or prioritise requirements and needs of the three services. With his seniority he would be also able to have a final say on all matters concerning the defence services. 
 
The need for such a post was acutely felt in 1971 during war with Pakistan which led to the bifurcation of that country and the birth of Bangladesh. The then army chief Gen Manekshaw (in pic) was made the temporary head of defence forces for the duration of the war. 

The need was again felt in 1999 and a committee formed after the Kargil war had also recommended appointment of a chief of defence services. There had been opposition from some quarters, including the Air Force, for having such a post but apparently prime minister Modi has now taken a call after due deliberations.

Defence experts point out that the old conventional ways of warfare with armoured vehicles, tanks, fighter aircraft and warships are over. It is the time of nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence, satellite warfare and electronic surveillance. All these require close coordination and quick decision taking ability.

There had also been a growing feeling among the defence services that the status of officers was getting diluted as compared to that of civilian officers and that decisions were taken by civil officers who were not sensitive to the needs of defence. The post of chief of defence services would bypass the bureaucracy. However it is important that the civil and defence officers coordinate on equal footing for the greater good of the nation.

This is also the ideal time to integrate the services headquarters with the Ministry of Defence. This would enable services officers and bureaucrats to sit side by side as partners. This would also help in removing a lot of overlapping leading to efficiency and accountability.

Much would depend on the way the proposal is implemented. It has great potential to transform the defence services through formulation of long term policy, integrated planning and prioritisation or it can end up as another decorative post.

The vital question now is : who would be the first person to hold the prestigious post of chief of defence staff? There is ambiguity about the point whether he would be a serving officer or someone who had recently retired. Speculations are that it could be the current air chief marshal BS Dhanoa, who flew fighter jets in Kargil, or the army chief Gen Bipin Rawat. There are also speculations that he could be a recently retired and experienced senior officer like Lt General DS Hooda or recently retired and efficient former Navy chief Sunil Lanba.

Whoever is appointed finally to the vital and prestigious post must be an outstanding officer who should be able to command not just the defence forces but also respect and regard of all the three service chiefs with his competence and experience. With the region staring at an uncertain future, India can’t take chances with its defence chief.
 

 

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 






Comment by: Sahib singh

Good article , congrats for it

reply


Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 







MOST VISITED
YOU MAY LIKE

TOPIC CLOUD

TAGS CLOUD

ARCHIVE



Copyright © 2016-2017







NEWS LETTER