Maj Gen Rajiv Narayanan
For the CDS to be effective in the tasks envisaged by the ministry, he would need to have full control on the decision making apparatus.
Quoting Defence Ministry sources, the Hindustan Times ran an article titled ‘Modi and Parrikar to decide on CDS role’on 24 December, written by Shishir Gupta. The article, focusing on the creation of a proposed chief of defence staff (CDS) position, essentially made three points:
(a) The government has decided to appoint a CDS, who would be a single-point military adviser to the political leadership on acquisition, procurement policy and resource rationalisation. The new post will not be used as a parking slot for superceded generals, and a new man will be tasked with the job once work profile is clearly defined.
(b) Work was on to create joint commands to optimise resource utilisation among the three services, and a step towards ‘integrated commands’, with structures synergised towards integrated operations. Converting the Northern Command into a Tri-Service Command was being studied, with no change to extant structures, but nominating one overall commander. Similarly, the future roles of service chiefs was also being considered.
(c) It was reported that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was studying the report of retired Lt Gen DB Shekatkar on making the military more effective with better teeth-to-tail ratio. It highlighted the general areas of redundancy like NCC, where more retired personnel could be better employed.
There are major matters of concerns with this line of thinking, if true, and does not augur well for the future battles/campaigns that the Indian military would have to face. It is not a question of ‘IF” but more of “WHEN”, India would face a military threat. A CDS with no operational tasks would be just a ceremonial figurehead, with no teeth to implement his ‘advice’ to the political leadership.
CDS As A Single Point Military Adviser To Political Leadership On Acquisition, Procurement Policy And Resource Rationalisation
The future battles require an integrated campaign model, and not some vague lexicons of ‘jointmanship’, ‘synergetic approach’ etc. By restricting the CDS to the above tasks, the appointment would only be ‘ceremonial’, as the structures of decision making on these and other administrative aspects would still remain within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and under the Defence Secretary.