Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Who is frontrunner to be next CDS after Gen Bipin Rawat’s demise?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tribute to CDS General Bipin Rawat.

Amid the news on sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat in a military helicopter crash, the government is mulling over the appointment of a new CDS with Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, emerging as the front-runner for the top post.

“It is highly likely that Gen Naravane is made the next Chief of Defence Staff and it will be a wise decision,” said a former high-ranking military commander.

The move by the government comes even as a number of retired military commanders said it will be prudent to appoint Gen Naravane as he is retiring as the Chief of Army Staff in five months. However, the overall merit cum seniority is what would be considered before appointing a new CDS. The rules say that all service chiefs can be considered for the post. Thus MM Naravane, who is senior to his counterparts in the navy and air force could take up the position. 

A CDS can serve till the age of 65 while the three Service Chiefs either serve till they attain the age of 62 or for three years in the post.

The government will draw up a panel comprising senior commanders from the Army, Indian Air Force, and Navy. The panel would then meet and finalize the name of the new CDS and then send the recommendation to Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh for approval.

Naravane, who took over as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff on December 31, 2019, previously served as Vice Chief of the Army and prior to that headed the Eastern Command of the Army which takes care of India’s nearly 4,000-km border with China.

In his career spanning over four decades, Naravane has served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field, and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir, and the North East.

In another development, according to a report, Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Chandi Prasad Mohanty has cut short his two-day visit to Qatar and is returning to Delhi. It is to be noted that if General Naravane is promoted as the next CDS, Northern Army Commander Lt General Y K Joshi or Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Chandi Prasad Mohanty could be the next Army chief.

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