Outgoing Army General Bipin Rawat is set to take over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) today. As the CDS — which will be India’s first-ever — General Rawat will be in direct contact with the Prime Minister on security issues and the chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force would report to him. He would head the Department of Military Affairs and paid a salary equivalent to a service chief.
“Government has decided to appoint Gen Rawat as the Chief of Defence Staff with effect from December 31 and until further orders and extension in service of Gen Rawat with effect from December 31 and till the period he holds the office of CDS,” the defence ministry said.
The United States and Maldives are among the first countries that congratulated General Rawat on his appointment.
“Congratulations to General Bipin Rawat on his appointment as India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff. The position will help catalyze greater US-India ‘joint’ cooperation between our militaries as discussed at recent 2+2, including through joint exercises & info sharing. AGW,” tweeted the US Department of State.
US Ambassador to India, meanwhile, expressed hope that General Rawat will help intensify defence cooperation between the two countries.
Congrats to Gen. Bipin Rawat @adgpi on his appointment as #India‘s first-ever Chief of Defense Staff. The CDS position will help catalyze greater #USIndia “joint” cooperation between our militaries as discussed at recent 2+2, including through joint exercises & info sharing. AGW https://t.co/faVPSai2Hj
– State_SCA (@State_SCA) December 30, 2019
Maldives Foreign Minister, while congratulating General Rawat, said that the Maldives-India Defence Partnership is very strong.
“Heartiest congratulations to Gen Bipin Rawat on being appointed as the first Chief of the Defence Staff of India. It was a great honour receiving Gen Rawat in Male” a few months back. #MaldivesIndiaDefencePartnership is on a very strong footing,” Maldives”s Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said in a tweet.
General Rawat is completing his full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff on December 31. He will serve as Chief of Defence Staff till March 2022.
The recommendation for CDS had first been made after the Kargil War of 1999. It was argued that this post will create better coordination among the three services — the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff in his Independence Day speech on August 15. “This is going to make the forces even more effective,” the PM said.
A committee headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was set up later to finalise the roles and responsibilities of the new office of the post. The chief of Defence Staff can serve till age of 65.
General Rawat is credited for bringing the major transformation in the Army structure and turning it into a mean and mean fighting machine of the future.