• CONTEST ALERT - Experience the power of DDR5 memory with Kingston Click for details

Army wants a Chief of Defence Staff

Not open for further replies.


Broken In

Former services top brass have suggested the government should immediately appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the wake of claims by retired army and air force officials that exposed the apparent lack of coordination during the Kargil operations in 1999.

A Group of Ministers had recommended the creation of the post of CDS five years ago, but the matter is yet to be given priority by the UPA government that came to power in 2004, they said.

"Every war that the country has been involved in since 1948 has exposed differences between the army and air force and fingers of blame have been pointed a lot of times," said a retired service chief who did not want to be named.

The former top brass noted that Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had repeatedly said in Parliament that political consultations on the CDS issue would be initiated but nothing had happened so far.

Their comments came in the wake of an article by former Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis, who said the army had been 'reluctant' to inform the government about the presence of Pakistan-backed intruders in Kargil in 1999.

Tipnis on Sunday clarified he had never written that the army had botched the Kargil operations. "There may be professional differences between the chiefs but it never gets down to a personal level," he told newsmen on the sidelines of the Air Force Day parade here.

Battle coordination might have been lacking in the initial stage of the Kargil operations but it was fine-tuned later, he said.

So should we have a CDS??
I would totally support having a CDS.

At the time Op Kartikeya was being written the Government of India (GOI) was carrying out a comprehensive review of India's security environment. Ever since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to hold office, they had promised to accord high priority to the country's defence needs. Part of the promise was fulfilled by the nuclear explosions at Pokharan. Kargil prompted a further push in this line of thinking. The creation of a National Security Advisor, the integration of intelligence services under the National Security Advisory Board, and the publication of India's nuclear doctrine were all steps in the right direction. There was also a crying need for a similar integration for the Indian Armed Forces.

Following the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee (and a report by the group of ministers) the NDA government proposed to create a Defence Staff Headquarters (DSHQ) with numerous joint commands and a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) at its head. The CDS would serve as a single-point military adviser to the GOI, whether in a crisis or for peacetime planning. Due to inter-service rivalry and political fears, what we got eventually was a watered down integrated Defence Staff Headquarters and a Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (CIDS). The appointment of a CDS has been postponed indefinitely.

The DSHQ as portrayed in Op Kartikeya has no similarity to the above. For one all commands, save one, are located at a single underground structure in the outskirts of Delhi. Secondly the DSHQ has operational control over the lone AWACS aircraft, since it straddles all three environments (air, land, water) and is useful to all three services. This is unlikely to happen in reality. Thirdly personnel from the three service headquarters (and from their regional commands) can be attached with the DSHQ to help plan and execute operations for their relevant service. In this manner the service chiefs have a sense of active participation in the joint operations. This too is a stretch but fits in nicely with the flow of the story.

The fears of the CDS becoming a defence supremo, of the DSHQ having rifts with the three service headquarters, and of inter-service rivalry have been shown to occur but in the interests of the story such temporary ripples are quickly smoothed over. The reader is free to decide the merits of each argument.



In the zone
What will the CDS do alone if the heads of the 3 divisions of our defence force is not willing to cooperate with each other? MOD must interfare in this problem and get it sorted out. Our defence forces are hosting war-games with other nations but dont have coop within themselves. What a funny thing!
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom