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The growing role of the CDS in India's military strategy

New posts have been created as part of a restructuring of the Army

PTI1_1_2020_000007B Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat | PTI

On January 1 this year, General Bipin Rawat took over as the country's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Besides bringing jointness to the three services, the office of the CDS, also known as the Department of Military Affairs, has been instrumental in the restructuring of the Army. 

As per the charter of duty, the office of CDS does not have any operational role in the functioning of Services. But, with the increasing complexity of security challenges in the modern warfare arena, there was a need to have a CDS for an integrated approach towards defence strategy. Over eight months of tensions along the China border, General Rawat has held several meetings to discuss India's response to the Chinese military's aggression in the Eastern Ladakh sector. The involvement of the Indian Air Force and of the MARCOS in the Pangong Tso region also indicated the active role of the CDS.

Last week, the office of the CDS gave its nod to the appointment of Deputy Chief (Strategy), who shall deal with military operations, military intelligence, strategic planning and operational logistics. With this, the Director-General Military Operations (DGMO) and Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI), who presently report to the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS), will now report to DCOAS (Strategy). 

The creation of the new post was part of the restructuring plan initiated by General Rawat which include slashing non-operational flab and downsizing the Army HQs through merging or relocating different directorates and by creating integrated battle groups.

Lt General Paramjit Singh has been appointed as the Deputy Chief Strategy, who will now deal with operations, intelligence, information and logistics. He will replace the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) as one the Principal Staff Officers of the Army Chief.

The Director-General Information Warfare will head the media outreach wing and will tackle misinformation on social media and other information for media include, print, electronic and digital. During the ongoing military standoff with China, psychological warfare through media witnessed its new peak as both the PLA and Indian Army released videos and pictures for their deployment pattern on the Line of Actual Control. Director-General Information Warfare will also report to the Deputy Chief (Strategy). Earlier, DGMO and DGMI used to report to the Vice Chief of Army on routine military operations.

The long-pending demand of the Armed Forces was first recommended in 2001 by a Group of Ministers (GoM) that was tasked with studying the Kargil Review Committee (1999) report. CDS is a four-star General who will act as the Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister on all tri-services (Army, Navy and Indian Air Force) matters, eventually becomes the country's senior-most military man.

CDS has the mandate of force planning and changing role of warfare- being more technology-oriented over rightsizing of manpower.

CDS is also finalising the work towards operationalising Theatre Commands which integrate the operations of the Army, Air Force and Navy. 

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