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Friday, 09 June 2023

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Who is the new CDS of Indian Army?

Who is the new CDS of Indian Army?

By Khushal Khan 


After the controversial death of General Bipin Rawat and the former CDS of Indian Army in a helicopter crash, his post remained vacant for more than nine months. The government of India tried to avoid the appointment considering the level of power a CDS holds over military affairs that could restrict BJP’s political maneuvers in defense procurements. The former CDS General Bipin Rawat was not aligned to the thought process of BJP’s leadership, that’s why the next appointment took so long. “This hiatus indicated that the government was not overly eager to have a CDS, as were the services and the bureaucracy in the Ministry of Defence (MoD),” said a two-star Indian Navy (IN) officer. A two-star Indian Army officer said, “It’s quite apparent from its apathy that the government simply does not want a CDS.” Declining to be named he further said, “Having created the appointment after decades of deliberation, its reluctance to name a CDS candidate indicates that it finds the post entirely expendable.” A three-star Indian Air Force officer commenting on the issue exposed the malicious intentions of the Modi government and ill-competence of the military officers by saying, “Such an evident shortcoming in selecting a CDS reveals either flawed promotion procedures in the respective services or even worse, a distressing lack of confidence by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP-led government in the upper echelons of the armed forces.” He further added that, “It’s a major morale dampener for the forces that no one was found suitable to be the country’s top soldier.” However, after a long delay the Modi led government selected a candidate that could fit in their frame work of national policies.


On September 28, 2022, the government appointed former Eastern Army Commander Lt. General (retd) Anil Chauhan as the new CDS. Born in Pauri Garhwal District, Uttarakhand, the new CDS completed his schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya that is known to be dominated by saffronised followers of Hindutva. Later on, he attended National Defense Academy and then joined the Indian Military Academy. Before assuming the office of CDS, Lt Gen (retd) Anil Chauhan worked as Military Advisor in National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and therefore he was fairly oriented with the mindset of BJP leadership, making him the best choice to be promoted as CDS.



The military career of the newly appointed Chief of Defense Staff is filled with incompetence mainly when he was given higher command posts. Under his leadership Indian Army faced huge embarrassment at the hands of People’s Liberation Army of China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Chinese soldiers infiltrated to a significant area inside the Indian territory while Anil Chauhan was GOC-in-C of Eastern Command. Additionally, under his command the state of Nagaland experienced a strong wave of sub-nationalist movement due to the oppression people faced at that time.



Indian Army under the command of Lt Gen Anil while he was DG Military Operations faced distressing defeat when Pakistan successfully carried out operation Swift Retort in which two Indian jets were shot and Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan. In that operation the fighter jets of Pakistan successfully targeted the close proximity of bunkers where senior Indian Army leaders were present. After the loss he had to face a transfer from the sensitive post of DGMO. The retired General accepted the post of CDS that doesn’t have any fixed tenure mentioned, that is again a disgrace for a senior military leader. Prawin Sawhney the famous Indian Defense Analyst and ex-military officer talking about this said; “Retd. Lt Gen Anil Chauhan’s tenure as CDS not specified. Government release says ‘until further orders.’ This is a joke. No professionally competent (self-respecting) officer would have accepted these terms of service. Says a lot about military leadership.”

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