Who is the new CDS Lt General Anil Chauhan? What role will he play?

As new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt General Anil Chauhan’s task will be to get the army, navy and air force to collaborate rather than work in their silos. He will also, as head of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), be the main military adviser to the defence minister

FP Explainers September 28, 2022 20:04:50 IST
Who is the new CDS Lt General Anil Chauhan? What role will he play?

Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) is India's new Chief of Defence Staff.

The Centre has appointed Lt General Anil Chauhan as India’s new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

“The Government has decided to appoint Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) as the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who shall also function as Secretary to Government of India, Department of Military Affairs with effect from the date of his assumption of charge and until further orders,” the Centre notice read.

The development comes more than nine months after post fell vacant following the death of General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, who assumed the role in January 2020.

Rawat and his wife were killed in December after a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu, killing 13 on board. The only survivor, an Air Force Group Captain, died of severe burns later.

Let’s take a closer look at Lt-Gen Chauhan’s life and career and his role as CDS:

Who is Chauhan?

Born on 18 May, 1961, Chauhan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

He was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981.

In the rank of Major General, Chauhan had commanded an Infantry Division in the critical Baramula sector in the Northern Command.

Later as Lt General, he commanded a corps in the North East and subsequently went to become the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command from September 2019.

He has held several important positions including the charge of Director General of Military Operations.

Chauhan earlier served on a United Nations mission to Angola.

He held the charge until his retirement from the service in May 2021.

Even after his retirement from the army, Chauhan continued to contribute to national security and strategic matters.

Chauhan has been awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal over the  his distinguished and illustrious career.

Chauhan’s role as CDS

The CDS plays two roles:

  • As permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee comprising the three service chiefs as members
  • As main military adviser to the defence minister as head of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).

The Centre decided to establish the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Armed Forces in 2019 – on the recommendations of a committee headed by Lt General DB Shekatkar – to bolster the nation’s military prowess and bring about more operational cohesiveness between  the army, the navy and the air force.

The CDS brings about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services.

In essence, Chauhan’s job will be to get the army, navy and air force to work in collaboration rather than in their silos.

Rule change paves way for Chauhan

Chauhan became eligible for the post after the Centre changes the rules for CDS appointments in June.

The Centre had issued a notification making all serving and recently-retired three-star officers under the age of 62 eligible for the post of CDS.

Notably, the government had announced that any serving or retired Lt General, Air Marshal or Vice Admiral would be eligible to be appointed as the CDS.

“The Central Government may, if considered necessary, in the public interest, so to do, appoint as Chief of Defence Staff, an officer who is serving as Air Marshal or Air Chief Marshal or an officer who has retired in the rank of Air Marshal or Air Chief Marshal but has not attained the age of 62 years on the date of his appointment,” the notification issued under the Air Force Act 1950 said.

It further said that the government may extend the service of the Chief of Defence Staff for such a period as it may deem necessary subject to a maximum age of 65 years.

The move essentially widened the available military talent pool from which a CDS could be appointed and made it possible for the second-in-command of the army, navy and air force to supersede their seniors.

With inputs from agencies

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