New Delhi: A day before he was to retire from service after completing a three-year term as Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat became India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who will act as the principal military adviser to Defence Minister on all matters relating to the tri-services.
General Rawat is the first officer to hold the post set up just days ago. An official announcement on General Rawat’s appointment, however, was awaited.
The union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, on December 24, had approved the post of CDS and its charter and duties.
Born on March 16, 1958 in Pauri district of Uttarakhand, General Bipin Rawat hails from a family that had been serving the Indian Army for multiple generations.
An alumnus of St Edward School in Shimla, National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, and Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, General Rawat belongs to the Gorkha regiment.
General Rawat had received the Sword of Honour at IMA. He commanded an infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Eastern Sector, an infantry division in Kashmir and a corps in the Northeast.
He served the army at various functional levels for three decades. He was involved in the 1986 operations in the Eastern Sector facing China, was posted in militancy-infested Pulwama in the 19 Division, and successfully handled responsibilities in several operations in the Northeast.
On Sunday, the government also amended the rules of the Army, Navy and Air Force to allow a CDS to serve until the age of 65. Currently, the chiefs of the three service retire after either completing three years in office or once they reach the age of 62, whichever comes first.
According to the charter released by the government, the post of CDS would be occupied by a four-star officer from Indian Army, Indian Navy or Indian Air Force.
“The CDS will head the newly established Department of Military Affairs within the Ministry of Defence. Among the areas the CDS will focus on will be promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing and facilitation the restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources,” the charter read.
Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane, currently the Vice Chief of the Army Staff, will take over as Army Chief after General Rawat completes his term on December 31.