The Indian government appointed a new Chief of Defence Staff on Wednesday, months after the post fell vacant as General Bipin Rawat, who was the country’s first CDS, died in a helicopter crash in December 2021. The Chief of Defence Staff is the highest ranking officer on active duty in India’s military. He is chief military adviser to India’s defence minister.
The Indian government has appointed new Chief of Defence Staff. Lieutenant General (Retired) Anil Chauhan will assume the post that is higher than even the respective armed forces’ chiefs. Lt General Chauhan will also function as Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Military Affairs.
This is the first time that a retired officer has been appointed as Chief of Defence Staff.
General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, was killed in a helicopter crash on December 8, 2021.
Chief of Defence Staff is considered to be first among equals. The CDS and chiefs of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force are the only four-star officers in the country. The Chief of Defence Staff is the highest ranking officer on active duty in India’s military. He is chief military adviser to India’s defence minister.
“In a career spanning over nearly 40 years, he (Chauhan) has held several command, staff and instrumental appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu Kashmir and North-East India,” said defence ministry in a release.
Lt General Chauhan is recipient of Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal.
The post of Chief of Defence Staff was lying vacant since December 8 last year after the death of General Bipin Rawat. When General Bipin Rawat was appointed CDS by the Narendra Modi government within six months of coming back to power in 2019, it was hailed as one of the biggest reforms in the higher military structure of the country.
The CDS is also the single point of contact for the government for giving military advice and is the senior-most bureaucrat in the defence ministry which has four major departments. The appointment comes amid efforts by the government to give a big push to indigenisation in the equipment for defence forces.