Chief of Defence Staff – UPSC Prelims

  • The Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) is a high military office that oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services.
  • The role of the CDS becomes critical in times of conflict.
  • He offers seamless tri-service views and single-point advice to the Prime Minister on long-term defence planning and management including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all joint Manship in operations.
  • Currently, India has had a feeble equivalent known as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee(CoSC) but this is a toothless office given the manner in which it is structured.
  • The senior-most among the three Service Chiefs is appointed to head the CoSC. But it is an additional role and the tenures have been very short.
  • The proposal for a CDS has been there for two decades. It was first made by K. Subrahmanyam committee appointed after the Kargil conflict of 1999 to recommend higher military reforms. However,lack of consensus and apprehensions among services meant it never moved forward.
  • In 2012,the Naresh Chandra committee recommended the appointment of a Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) as a midway to allay apprehensions over the CDS.
  • The CDS was also one of the 99 recommendations made by the Lt General D.B. Shekatkar (retd) Committee which submitted its report in December 2016 which had 34 recommendations pertaining to the tri-services.

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