Why a bureaucrat heading the Defence Ministry should formulate the operational plans for war?

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At present, a bureaucrat heading the Defence Ministry formulates the operational plans for war and the Chiefs of Staff execute it. With the creation of the post of CDS, it could be rectified now. – Air Marshal (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur

Chandigarh: A panel discussion on “Creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff” was held on the third and concluding day of Military Literature Festival, here on Sunday.

The panel discussion was moderated by Lt Gen (Retd) Aditya Singh and the other panelists included Air Marshal (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur, former defence secretary Shekhar Dutt, advisor to British High Commission New Delhi Brig Gavin Thompson and Lt Gen (Retd) Sanjeev Langer.

The panelists were in agreement with the Union Government decision. It was pointed out that it was in the post-Kargil War phase that the Group of Ministers, in the year 2001 had recommended the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). 

Lt Gen (Retd) Aditya Singh said as moderator that the post of CDS is meant to ensure better coordination between the three services – the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. The CDS will act as the single-point advisor to the Government of India and would be in a position to advise on matters related to all the three services – Army, Navy and Air Force – thereby making India’s armed forces totally integrated. The Chief of Defence Staff will be a ‘first among equals’, a fourth four-star officer who will be senior to the three other service chiefs.

Former Governor of Chattisgarh State Shekhar Dutt, who has served as Defence Secretary, said that the post of CDS has been created as it is necessary to have a professional body of the highest standing to render single-point military advice to the government on matters of national security. He said that this post has been created by keeping in mind the present day needs and the first CDS would be appointed in a few days from now.

Advisor to the British High Commission in New Delhi Brig Gavin Thompson said that a central decision making body, such as the CDS, is the need of the hour. The concept of CDS has been followed in the UK for last several years. He also three light on the working of the CDS in UK.

Lt Gen (Retd) Sanjeev Langer gave a presentation and compared the system of command of the armed forces in USA, China, and France with that of the CDS in India. He said that uniformed men from the armed forces should be deputed permanently in the Ministry of Defence, and the CDS will play an important role in fostering inter-services coordination in terms of budgeting, equipment purchase, training, joint doctrines and planning of military operations, an imperative of modern warfare.

Air Marshal (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur laid stress on the formation of a separate defence cadre in the country, whose officers should be deputed only in organisations related to national security. He further said that the CDS should be made a permanent member of all committees related to strategic policy group, nuclear command authority and should be made a part of all the inter-ministerial discussions that are related to matters of national security. At present, a bureaucrat heading the Defence Ministry formulates the operational plans for war and the Chiefs of Staff execute it. With the creation of the post of CDS, it could be rectified now, he went on to emphasise.

Lt Gen (Retd) Satish Dua also shared his valuable experiences with the audience. This was followed by a question answer session.

Categories: Defence, India

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