Services on board on Chief of Defence Staff, says minister

Bangalore: The government today said the Services were on board on having a Chief of Defence Staff for the armed forces and now it would seek the opinion of the political parties on the issue.

"The Chief of Defence Staff is something that the country has been looking at the last couple of decades. Most countries have a Chief of Defence Staff. When you have a Chief of Defence Staff it can evaluate the requirements all three services...," Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh told reporters in Bangalore.

 Services on board on Chief of Defence Staff, says minister

Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh. Image courtesy PIB

Speaking on the sidelines of AeroIndia International Seminar-2015, he said the Chief of Defence Staff was someone who has to take the overall perspective and doesn't think in compartments like Navy, Air force and the Army.

"Therefore the money that is going to be spent on the overall capability to be developed within the country can be much better utilised with the Chief of Defence Staff.

"The three Services have agreed that there should be a Chief of Defence Staff...we have to now get parties involved, as it is a political decision. There are pros and cons to the whole issue, the Services is now on board more or less. Now the political parties have to be taken on board. Once they
give their opinion we will take a decision," he said.

Asked whether government has started discussions with parties, Singh said it has been going on for a while, but now again "I think we are going to write to all political parties and ask them as to what is their opinion on this."

Stating that who is going to be Chief of Defence Staff is immaterial as of now, Singh in response to a question said, "According to me - what possibility that could be explored is that there should be somebody in the Chief of Defence Staff's position for a couple of years while all these issues are
being worked out, like the CISC who could be there in that position...let him operate for couple of years, once the difficulties are ironed out Chief of Defence Staff can be announced.

"...these things have to have a political input. Political input is going to be asked for by this government. Once we have the parties on board I think it will be done..," he added.

To a question on One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue, Singh said "it will happen soon...we are addressing it, and more or less we have come to a decision..."

"Before Parliament session we should be able to announce it...this is our wish," he added.

Asked about when a permanent DRDO chief would be appointed which is being now handled by the secretary defence, Singh said "He (Secretary Defence) has been given the additional charge of Aeronautical Development Agency and DRDO for three months. So one would expect in these three months the appointment will be made."

Responding to a question on the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet contract with France, Singh said "....out of 126 odd aircraft, 18 are to be delivered by them and the balances are to be manufactured here."

"The ones that are made here, it has to be with the help from original equipment manufacturer -- Dassault. Dassault must ensure that what is being produced in India is also of standard and as good as theirs."

He said, "Now that it is some thing, I think that we would expect them to help out in; ...they are working it out, there are no issues, the logistics of the problem are being worked out, that's all."

Singh said, "they have to help us in producing the same product of the same standard as the one they supplied to us when we imported... there should be no compromise on this...".

As per the RFP issued in 2007, the first 18 jets are to be imported and the rest 108 manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2015 20:43:46 IST