New Delhi: The Central Government has appointed Lieutenant General (Retired) Anil Chauhan as the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a post which remained vacant after the death of General Bipin Rawat in December last year. However, it has created another anomaly in the hierarchy of the defence establishment in the country.
It is pointed out that as CDS, Lt Gen Chauhan – who had had a three-star rank during retirement – would be superior to the Army General, Admiral of the Navy and Air Chief Marshal of the Air Force – who enjoy four-star rank. Officers in the rank of Lieutenant General, Vice Admiral and Air Marshal have three stars in the defence services.
Meanwhile, the first anomaly that emerged in the Defence Ministry when the post of CDS was created still exists. Apart from being the main advisor to the government on matters related to defence, CDS is also the Secretary of Military Affairs, which is one among the four departments under the Ministry of Defence. As per existing precedence, the Defence Secretary is senior to the secretaries of all these four departments. At the same time, the Defence Secretary is one rank below the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force. In other words, as Secretary of Military Affairs, CDS – who is senior to the service chiefs as per protocol – is junior not only to them but also the Defence Secretary!
Considering this anomaly, a demand had been raised much earlier to take away the post of Secretary, Military Affairs Department from the CDS and hand it over to the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, which is below the post of Defence Secretary.
Meanwhile, officials said that these anomalies will not affect the day-to-day affairs of the Defence sector as the CDS as well as the Secretary of Military Affairs Department is supposed to report directly to the Defence Minister. Moreover, CDS enjoys seniority in the Chiefs of Staff Committee, they pointed out. Incidentally, Lt Gen Chauhan was senior to all the three present service chiefs at the time of his retirement.