NEW DELHI – The government will “soon” announce the name of the next Chief of Defence Staff.
“CDS will be appointed very soon, all things are under process,” said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a brief response when asked.
The Minister was addressing a joint press conference with Chiefs of the three Services- Gen Manoj Pande, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Admiral R Hari Kumar on the Agnipath scheme of recruitment unveiled on Tuesday.
The Chief of Defence Staff is the single point contact for military advice to the government and senior most bureaucrat in the Defence Ministry.
Initiating the process, the Defence Ministry brought in gazette notifications, amending relevant regulations of the three Services- Indian Army, IAF and Indian Navy, regarding the appointment of the new Chief of Defence Staff on June 6.
According to the notifications, both serving and retired officers, who have not attained the age of 62 years on the date of appointment, could be considered for the coveted post.
As per the notification issued for the Indian Army, the government may consider an officer, who is serving as Lt Gen or General or an officer who has retired in the similar ranks, but has not attained the age of 62 years on the date of appointment.
The notification said considerations would be made if considered necessary, in public interest.
It also said the government may extend the service of the Chief of Defence Staff “for such period as it may deem necessary, subject to a maximum age of 65 years.”
Similar Gazette notifications have been issued for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy as well.
For Air Force, rules have been amended to allow government to appoint a serving Air Marshal or Air Chief Marshal or retired Air Marshal or Air Chief Marshal below 62 years of age as CDS; for the Indian Navy, the rules have been amended to appoint a serving Vice Admiral or Admiral or retired Vice Admiral or Admiral as CDS on similar lines.
The post has been lying vacant since the death of India’s first CDS General Bipin Rawat in a chopper crash in December last year.
Gen Rawat was killed in a Mi-17V5 crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8 last year.
The Tri-Service Court of Inquiry probing the tragic chopper crash involving Gen Rawat and 13 others found that the chopper entered into clouds due to unexpected change in weather, which led to spatial disorientation of the pilot, causing the accident.