Full Form of CDS, History, Functions, Insignia and Uniform

CDS stands for Chief of Defence Staff of the Indian Armed Forces. The position of Chairman-CoSC (Chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee)  was set up in 1947 as a forerunner to the post of CDS.

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The Chief of Defence Staff of the Indian Armed Forces (CDS) is the professional head of the Indian Armed Forces and the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The Chief of Defence Staff is a well-reputed uniformed officer. A CDS officer is on active duty in the Indian military and serves as the military’s chief adviser. The Chief is also the Director of Military Affairs. A vice-chief, the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, assists the CDS.

General Bipin Rawat, the first Chief of Defence Staff, took office on January 1, 2020. This position facilitated coordination, tri-service effectiveness, and integration of the Indian armed forces’ combat capabilities. There was no comparable position at the time of the post.

The government amended the Air, Army, and Navy Force Service Rules. Moreover, for this country’s top military post, retired Service Chiefs and three-star officers are considered. These eligible officers can only pave the way for the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) appointment.

However, with an age requirement that the retired officer is under 62 years old on the appointment date. Also, former Service chiefs are largely ruled out, particularly for the current consideration.

History of CDS

The position of Chairman-CoSC (Chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee)  was set up in 1947 as a forerunner to the post of CDS.  It handles advising the Defence Minister on all military affairs. The most senior of the three service chiefs got appointed as Chairman of CoSC.

The need for a Chief of Defense Staff was first realised as early as the 1960s, following wars with Pakistan and China. The possibility of creating such a post has grown over time. However, it was not until 2001. After the Kargil Review Committee’s recommendation in 1999, the Group of Ministers (GoM) proposed the establishment of the post of CDS.

Several other committees proposed their versions of a CDS. It includes the Naresh Chandra force in 2012 and the Lieutenant General D. B. Shekatkar Committee in 2016. In 2006, the process of consulting with all involved  parties began. The Cabinet Committee on Security began the process of making the final decision on the creation of a post for the CDS in 2017.

Functions and Duties of CDS

Here are the following  duties and functions of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS):

  • To be the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence’s Department of Military Affairs.
  • CDS is to serve as the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri’s Principal Military Advisor on all Tri-Service matters.
  • To serve as the Chiefs of Staff Committee’s Permanent Chairman.
  • To manage the Tri-Service organisations, agencies, and commands.
  • CDS serves on the Defence Acquisition Council, which the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri chairs.
  • To serve as the Nuclear Command Authority’s Military Advisor.
  • To achieve jointness in the three Services’ operations, support services, and logistics. Furthermore, It includes transportation, training,  repairs and maintenance, communications, etc.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff ensures optimal infrastructure utilisation and rationalisation through service collaboration.
  • As a follow-up to the Integrated Capability Development Plan, they also implement a five-year defence capital acquisition proposal and two-year roll-on yearly acquisition plans.
  • To prioritise capital acquisition, proposed amendments based on inter-services focused on the anticipated budget.
  • To implement reforms in the operations of three Services. This is to improve the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by minimising wasteful spending.

The mandate of the Department of Military Affairs includes “facilitation of military command restructuring for optimal resource utilisation by introducing jointness in operational processes, such as the establishment of joint or theatre commands.” 

Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Shripad Naik provided this information in a written reply to Shri K J Alphons in Rajya Sabha.

Implement Reforms by The Chief of Defence Staff.

Among the first reforms, the Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) implemented was the long-awaited structural change of creating theatre commands. The following are its main reforms:

  • There are indications of the formation of two to five theatre instructions. These are effective in dealing with challenges on multiple fronts effectively.
  • To achieve effective results, each command will have units from the Army, Navy, and Air Force working in tandem.
  • Each command must operate independently so the task can be completed quickly and with agility.
  • Among the commands that may be established is a peninsular command. It includes the Indian Navy’s eastern and western commands, a devoted command for Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, dedicated instruction for the three services’ logistics requirements and an Air Defence Command.

Insignia and Uniform

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) wears the appropriate coloured uniform of their parent service, and the Indian Armed Forces wear gold-wreathed tri-service emblem (the Naval anchor, crossed Army swords, and Air Force eagle, all graced by the national emblem of India) which used in the area of service insignia and unit emblems. 

The wreathed tri-service emblem is also used to replace service uniform buttons, cap badges, belt badge service insignia, shoulder flashes, and four-star gorget patches worn by service chiefs. While the car pennant represents the officer’s parent service, the tri-service emblem replaces the rank stars.

Full Form of CDS FAQs

Who is India's current Chief of Defence Staff?

Lt General Anil Chauhan is India's current CDS.

Who is the new CDS of India?

On September 28, 2022, the government named former Eastern Army Commander Lt. General Anil Chauhan became the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Since the passing of the nation's first CDS, Gen. Bipin Rawat, in a helicopter crash in December 2021, the post has been vacant.

Who is India's first CDS?

On December 10, MoS Defence Ajay Bhatt unveiled a bust commemorating India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, at the United Service Institution of India (USI) in New Delhi.

What is the Chief of Defence Staff's role in India?

CDS is responsible for the following tasks:

Bringing Army, Air Force, and Navy operations together
Weapons procurement procedures should be standardised.
The chairperson of the Joint Commanders and the commanding superintendent and Staff Committee is the CDS.
Ensure that the infrastructure in the three Services is used optimally.

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