India might soon have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) according to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. His statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the jointness at the top as a long pending need. Though the recommendation for CDS was put forward by a Group of Ministers in 2001, it has not bore fruit.
“Should be,” Parrikar told reporters here when asked if the post of a CDS could be a reality soon.
The minister said that Defence Ministry will also submit a report on the issues that the Prime Minister has raised during the annual Combined Commanders Conference held in Kochi. “Prime Minister has mentioned many things. We will be submitting a report on that soon. He has raised many issues and they are important issues,” he said.
According to reports, the post of CDS is likely to be a four star one and the incumbent would be the strategic command-in charge of nuclear weapons and that of the upcoming cyber and space command, along with being in charge of the tri-services at Andaman and Nicobar Islands. If implemented, this would be a big step in a series of military reforms undertaken by the NDA government after coming to power in 2014.
Regarding the lag in carrying out reforms, Mr. Parrikar said there is a need to reduce the tooth to tail ratio and to promote a jointness across every level of armed forces. “We wear different colours, but we serve the same cause and bear the same flag. Jointness at the top is a need that is long overdue,” he said.
On asking about the concerns in military about the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, the defence minister said due attention shall be paid in addressing their concerns.