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Creation of Department of Military Affairs, institutionalisation of CDS post are momentous reforms: PM Modi

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 01, 2020 Published on January 01, 2020

Newly-appointed Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat

that the Army, the Navy and the Air Force will work as a team, says Gen Bipin Rawat

The creation of the Department of Military Affairs and institutionalisation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) are momentous reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday.

Modi also paid his tributes to those who fought in the Kargil war. "I recall the valiant personnel who fought in Kargil, after which many discussions on reforming our military began, leading to today’s historic development," he said.

Recalling that he announced the formation of the Office of the CDS during his Independence Day speech, Modi said, "This institution carries tremendous responsibility of modernising our military forces. It would also reflect the hopes and aspirations of 1.3 billion Indians."

Congratulating General Bipin Rawat for his appointment as the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Modi said he is an outstanding officer who has served India with great zeal.

“Creation of the Department of Military Affairs with requisite military expertise and institutionalisation of the post of CDS is a momentous and comprehensive reform that will help our country face the ever-changing challenges of modern warfare,” the prime minister tweeted.

Appointment of CDS momentous, historic for India: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday that the appointment of the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was a momentous and historic for India and it will further the Narendra Modi government’s efforts towards ensuring welfare of personnel of all three services of the armed forces.

In a series of tweets, Shah also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled yet another long-pending demand with India getting its first CDS.

“The Chief of Defence Staff will not only further Modi government’s efforts towards ensuring welfare of personnel of all the three wings of Indian Armed Forces, modernise our military and fulfil aspirations of a #NewIndia.

“A momentous and historic day for India as PM @narendramodi ji fulfils yet another long-pending demand and India gets its First Chief of Defence Staff. I am confident that this decision will further strengthen India’s resolve to be among the best defence forces in the world,” Shah said.

The home minister also congratulated General Bipin Rawat, on taking charge as India’s first CDS.

“I am sure under his leadership all the three forces will collectively work as a team and leave no stone unturned in securing our nation against all odds,” he said

Focus on integration

Earlier, newly-appointed Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that his focus as the CDS will be to integrate the efforts of the three services and to work as a team. “I want to assure you, that the Army, the Navy and the Air Force will work as a team. The CDS will keep control over them, but action will be taken through teamwork,” said Gen Rawat after receiving a Guard of Honour by the three services.

Gen Rawat, who took charge as CDS on Wednesday, said his focus will be to ensure best and optimal use of resources allocated to the three services. “The task cut out for the Chief of Defence Staff is to integrate the three services and enhance their capability. We will continue working towards that,” he said.

“The CDS will not try to run a force by his directions. Integration is needed. We have to ensure that 1+1+1 combine of the three services adds up to 5 or 7 and not 3. You have to achieve more through synergy and integration, that is the aim of the CDS,” Gen Rawat said.

Apart from giving attention to integration and joint training, he said efforts will be made to ensure uniformity and integrating of systems for procurement so that the Army, the Navy and the Air Force can work in coordination with each other.

Asked about establishment of theatre commands, Gen Rawat said, “There are methods of doing theaterisation, I think we all are copying western methods and what others have done. We can have our own systems. We will work out mechanisms through understanding with each other and I think it will work.”

On the government’s timeline of three years for achieving integration between the forces, the CDS said it was possible and he will strive to achieve it.

On infiltration by Pakistan

Asked about the killing of two army personnel in a gunfight with heavily-armed Pakistani infiltrators along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, he said he would not like to comment on it. “Plans are not made open to public. Don’t want to comment on that,” he said when asked if there were plans of the three services acting on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Gen Rawat also said that he would remain neutral to the three services as the CDS. “My head is feeling lighter because, I have had to take off that angled Gurkha hat that I have been working with for 41 years, I have come back to this peak cap that I am wearing which is to say that we are now neutral. Will be neutral to all the three services,” he said.

Asked about the challenges on the northern border and China’s actions there, the general said the Army will continue to work through integrated efforts.

Defence forces and politics

Asked about allegations that the Army was being politicised and questions being raised by the Congress over the creation of the CDS’ post, he said, “We stay away, we stay far away from politics. We work on the directives of the government in power.”

The Congress on Tuesday had raised several questions over the appointment of Gen Rawat as the CDS, saying the government has started on a "wrong foot". Some Opposition politicians have accused Gen Rawat of having political leanings.

 

Published on January 01, 2020

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