Govt amends services rules, chiefs making to CDS can serve up to 65 years of age

Decision comes two days before Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s retirement on Dec 31; as per existing rules, service chiefs can serve for maximum 3 years or till age 62, whichever is earlier

Govt amends services rules, chiefs making to CDS can serve up to 65 years of age

NH Web Desk

The government has amended tri-services rules to enable the services chiefs to serve upto 65 years of age if they make it to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), it was announced on Sunday.

As per existing rules, the service chiefs can serve for a maximum of three years or till attaining the age of 62, whichever is earlier.

The changes have been made in the services rules of the Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force for extension of retirement age.

However, the tenure of the CDS is yet to be announced.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had on Dec 24 approved the creation of the post of CDS who will act as the principal military adviser to the Defence Minister on matters pertaining to tri-services.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat is tipped to be India's first CDS and the announcement is likely to be made before Dec 31, the day he retires. Although Gen Rawat is yet to attain the age of 62, he will demit office on completion of his set tenure of three years.

According to some media reports, at least five names are on the government’s table for consideration, and the file has not been signed as yet, but Gen Rawat is said to be the front runner for the post.

General Rawat has been the blue-eyed boy of the Narendra Modi government that went out of its way and superseded two Lt Generals senior to him -- Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen Pattiarimal Mohamadali Hariz -- in appointing Rawat the Army chief in December 2016.

Gen Rawat has often courted controversy through his statements on India’s foreign policy to internal politics, the latest being his criticism of students and youth protesting against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

His conduct in the regard is unusual as India’s defence services chiefs have never before ventured into politics or policy, or publicly advised a foreign government to “behave”.

Before becoming Army Chief, Gen Rawat handled various key operational responsibilities including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the North East.

A key mandate of the CDS will be to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of theatre commands.

The Chief of Defence Staff will serve as the secretary of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the Defence Ministry. The CDS will also act as the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC) that comprises chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The senior-most member is appointed its chairperson.

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