- ADU mourns the death of General Bipin Rawat in a fatal crash
- Nation loses a great military leader and armed forces their 1st CDS
The last fortnight was one of despondence but saw a billion plus nation not only standing together but also mourning the death of CDS and 12 others in the fatal chopper crash as one. And as days pass by and shock lessens, the rumour mill is strong on the name of the next CDS, critics are active trying to fathom as to what could be reason behind the delay in announcing the name, political deterrents of the central government particularly of the Prime Minister, are trying to speculate who the next incumbent in the CDS’s chair would be and self styled analysts are trying to zero out on the candidate who in addition to being eligible also has a strong relationship with the NSA. Amidst all this the question which is the most important has got side tracked, which is, Isn’t it just the time to formalise rules for CDS’ selection?
As Gen Bipin Rawat was the first CDS and no one even in the wildest dreams sees such a tragic mid-term upheaval, there is no precedence for a change of guard in this seat and also surprisingly no formal rules for CDS selection in case of death. The PIB press release which was uploaded for the press talks a lot about the role, responsibilities and reach of the CDS but not a single line on how will the appointment of the next one and the ones after him be done. It says that the Union Cabinet approved the creation of the CDS who will act as the principal military adviser to the defence minister on all matters relating to tri-services.
Neither the MoD website nor the IDS website have any mention of the process of selection /appointment of the CDS. MoD does have a power point presentation on Defence Reforms which mentions the establishment of CDS. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)will take a decision when the Defence Ministry initiates the file and provide a panel of three.
The boots of the first CDS Late General Bipin Rawat will be really deep to fit for the new incumbent but not impossible. The government has a seasoned COAS, who as the senior-most of the three chiefs, can be just the man for the job left incomplete by his predecessor. He has been a part of all the far-reaching reforms in jointness and integration in both organisational structure and operational tasks. Out of his two immediate juniors the Vice Chief Lt. Gen CP Mohanty and Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen YK Joshi, either of them will be perfect choice for the Army Chief’s position.
Meanwhile the Government shall be hopefully taking a decision both to choose a CDS and to streamline in written the process of appointment of the CDS in contingencies and extraordinary circumstances.
ADU will always remember Late General Bipin Rawat as a forthright soldier and an interviewer’s delight. We remember with fondness the conversations over the cups of tea at his office during the annual Army Day interviews as Chief and prior those as Army Commander. We are sure the legacy he has created will be taken forward by the next CDS.
21 December 2021