Chandigarh, December 15:
A panel discussion on the topic “Creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff” was held on the third and concluding day of Military Literature Festival, here today. The panel discussion was moderated by Lt Gen (Retd) Aditya Singh and the other panelists included Air Marshal (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur, former defence secretary Shekhar Dutt, advisor to British High Commission New Delhi Brig Gavin Thompson and Lt Gen (Retd) Sanjeev Langer.
During the discussion, all panelists welcomed this decision of the government and said that ever since the Kargil War got over in 1999, the Group of Ministers, in the year 2001, recommended the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
Moderator Lt Gen (Retd) Aditya Singh said that the post of CDS is aimed at ensuring better coordination between the three services, the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. He further said the CDS will act as the single-point advisor to the Government of India. The officer concerned will be in a position to advise on matters related to all the three services, Army, Navy and Air Force, thus making India's armed forces integrated. The Chief of Defence Staff will be a 'first among equals', a fourth four-star officer who will be senior to the three other service chiefs.
Former defence secretary Shekhar Dutt stressed the post of CDS has been created as it is necessary to have a professional body of the highest standing to facilitate 'jointmanship' and render single-point military advice to the government on matters of national security. He said that this post has been created by keeping in mind the present day needs and the first CDS would be appointed in few days from now.
Advisor to British High Commission New Delhi Brig Gavin Thompson said that a centrally decision making body, such as the CDS is need of the hour and it has been followed in the UK for several years. He also shared the working of the CDS in UK.
Lt Gen (Retd) Sanjeev Langer gave a presentation and compared the system of command of armed forces in USA, China, France etc with that of the CDS in India. He said that uniformed men from the armed forces should be deputed permanently in the Ministry of Defence, and the CDS would play in fostering inter-services jointness in terms of budgeting, equipment purchases, training, joint doctrines and planning of military operations, an imperative of modern warfare.
Air Marshal (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur stressed on the formation of a separate defence cadre in the country, whose officers should be deputed only in organisations related to national security. He also said that the CDS should be made a permanent members of all committees related to strategic policy group, nuclear command authority etc and should be made a part of all the inter-ministerial discussions that are related to matters of national security. At present, a bureaucrat heading the Defence Ministry formulates the operational plans for war fighting and Chiefs of Staff execute it. With the creation of post of CDS, it could be rectified now.
Lt Gen (Retd) Satish Dua also shared his valuable experiences with the audience. A question answer session was also held in the end.