April 1, 2015
In remarks made last month, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar created a buzz in strategic circles when he accepted the need for appointing a chief of defence staff (CDS) on the grounds that “the integration of the three forces does not exist in the existing structure”. Without naming a date, he said that he needed some time “to work it out” and would bring up a note before the Cabinet Committee on Security within the next two to three months.
While giving hope to the (small) community of military reformers, the statement is also a cause for some alarm. The last thing India needs is a rush to a quick-fix solution imagined behind closed doors by a small team of bureaucrats — civilian or military. Parrikar should instead, if necessary, take a little while longer and implement a well-thought-out plan and also take advantage of a once-in-a-generation constellation of factors to transform the Indian military.