Indian Navy chief favours five-star CDS

August 7th, 2012 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma Tuesday favoured the creation of a five-star post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as a single-point military advisor to the government as had been recommended more than a decade ago. A counter-proposal to appoint a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), should only be “a stepping stone” toward the post.

Verma’s backing to the proposal of the Kargil Review Committee, came in response to a question on the Naresh Chandra Task Force recommedning a permanent COSC chairman.

Verma was addressing his farewell press conference ahead of his retirement at month-end.

The Kargil report, prepared by the committee headed by late strategic thinker K. Subramanyam, had been approved for implementation by a Group of Ministers in 2001. However, then government then sought to build political consensus on the CDS and there has been no movement forward on the issue since then.

Verma, however, hastened that the report of the Naresh Chandra task force is still classified and the unclassified part has not yet been made public.

“It is a fact that what was envisaged in 2001 has not happened. Perhaps, this is one of the areas which the Naresh Chandra committee has addressed after having taken inputs from all stake-holders.

“There have been various reasons for CDS not happening. Perhaps the effort was to find a via media to have a permanent chairman COSC. It certainly forms a stepping stone to the larger concept of CDS whenever it happens,” Verma said.

Pointing out that the tenure of the COSC chairman was too short for any incumbent, the Indian Navy chief, who has been holding the post for nearly a year now, said it is difficult for a service chief to double up as the COSC chairman.

“Today, if you see, when you have the dual-hatting of the service chief holding responsibility of chairman COSC, I think it is difficult to devote the time that is required with respect to what is expected of the chairman COSC.”

As for the short tenures, he pointed out that one chairman was in office only for a month before he retired.

“If that be the case, I don’t think you can deliver to the extent anyone would like to do. Whatever you say, the single service responsibility weighs heavily and a permanent chairman COSC will certainly provide the thrust towards moving jointness in the correct direction,” he added.

Regarding his own tenure as chairman COSC, Verma said jointness in the acquisition process of the army, navy and the air force, already established, was tweaked to achieve perfection, apart from joint operations initiatives discussed by the services chiefs, and bringing more areas into the ambit of joint training.

The chairman COSC is a post created by the Indian government on the basis of the Kargil review committee and the post is held by the senior most chief of army, navy and air force in turns.

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