- Chief of Defence Staff will serve as principal military adviser
- CDS will not exercise military command over three service chiefs
- CDS will be a four-star general from either the Army, Navy or Air Force
The cabinet committee on security (CCS) has approved the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post that will function as a single point of contact for different branches of the armed forces and as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on tri-service matters. The CDS will not exercise any military command over the three service chiefs. The post will have a fixed term that has yet to be determined. All P-5 nations - the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - have equivalent posts.
Described as 'first among equals' among service chiefs, the CDS will also be tasked with trimming weapons procurement procedures and integrating operation of the armed forces.
Addressing the media this evening Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the CDS would be a four-star general - from either the Army, the Air Force or the Navy - who will also head the Department of Military Affairs and be paid a salary equal to a service chief.
In the present structure, the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee is Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat. However, he does not function in the capacity of a CDS.
A CDS to oversee the military was first recommended by a committee set up after the 1999 Kargil War. The committee was set up to examine lapses in security after the war which was triggered by Pakistani soldiers infiltrating into India and occupying key positions in the mountains of Kargil.
The position was then announced by PM Modi during his Independence Day speech earlier this year.
"Our forces are India's pride. To further sharpen coordination between forces, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort. India will have a Chief of Defence Staff - CDS. This is going to make the forces even more effective," the PM said.
The concept was also strongly backed by the late Manohar Parrikar, who was Defence Minister for two years during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first term.
Sources say the CDS will not be eligible to hold any government post after demitting office and cannot take any private employment for five years without prior approval.
In today's meeting the CCS also approved the report of a high-level committee that had been set up after the PM's Independence Day announcement that was headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The committee finalised responsibilities and framework for the operation of the CDS.