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Chief of Defence Staff



Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is the professional service chief, head of the Indian Armed Forces and the senior-most uniformed military adviser to the Government of India.

The position was first officially suggested in 1999 following the Kargil War through the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee. On 24 December 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) formally announced the creation of the position, a four-star general, a tri-service chief, that shall lead the defence forces as well as take up other roles such as the secretary of the Department of Military Affairs under the Ministry of Defence.

General Bipin Rawat took over as the first CDS on 1st January 2020. He will serve a full three-year term till December 2022.

The CDS would head a newly-created Department of Military Affairs (DMA), under the Ministry of Defence, as its secretary.

The CDS will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (PC-CoSC). He will also be the Principal Military Adviser to the Minister of Defence.


As the Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, CDS will perform the following functions:

1.) The Chief of Defence Staff is described by officials as the "first among equals" among service chiefs.

2.) The CDS will be tasked with trimming weapons procurement procedures and integrating operations of the Indian armed forces- Army, Air Force and Navy.

3.) Apart from being the military advisor for the government, the CDS will also head the Department of Military Affairs.

4.) The CDS will have the authority to direct the service chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force and will also have the authority to create theatre commands as and when needed.

5.) Command tri-service agencies, organisations, and commands including those related to cyber and space.

6.) CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the Minister of Defence and Defence Planning Committee chaired by the National Security Advisor.

7.) Function as the Military Advisor to the Nuclear Command Authority.

8.) Bring about jointness and ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure in the three Services.

9.) Implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan (DCAP), and Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans (AAP), as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan (ICDP).

10.) Bring about reforms in the functioning of three Services aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.

11.) Assign inter-Services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals.



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