‘Indian Army is Better Prepared’: Gen Rawat on Last Day as COAS

General Rawat was appointed CDS with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of Army, Navy and Air Force.

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General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday, 31 December, said that the Indian Army is “better prepared” to take on the challenges at Pakistan and China border. He also conveyed his gratitude to the soldiers, rank and file of the Indian Army on Tuesday, 31 December, as he demitted office as the Chief of Army Staff.

When asked whether the Army is better prepared now to face the security challenges facing the country, he said: "Yes, we are better prepared."

Rawat was on Monday, 30 December, appointed India's first Chief of Defence Staff with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of the army, the navy and the air force, and bolster the country's military prowess.

“As I demit the office of Chief of Army staff, I wish to convey my gratitude to the soldiers, rank and file of Indian Army who have stood steadfast under challenging circumstances.”
General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff

Exchange of Congratulations

After a farewell Guard of Honour, Gen Rawat also exuded confidence that the Army will rise to greater heights under the new Chief of Army Staff Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane.

"I convey my best to each and every rank and file of the Indian Army. I also congratulate Gen Naravane on being the next Army Chief. He is a very competent and capable officer. We are confident that he will through his competence and professionalism will take the Army to greater heights," Gen Rawat said, according to PTI.

Meanwhile, hours after taking over as the Indian Army Chief, General Naravane expressed his happiness with the post of CDS.

“Very happy with creation of post of CDS and the appointment of Gen Rawat as the first CDS. It hasn't happened overnight. The proposal to create such a post has been in the pipeline for more than two decades. It was the need of the hour and it will bring about greater interaction and synergy between three forces,” he said, speaking to ANI.


Appointed CDS With Effect From 31 December

According to a government order, General Rawat has been appointed as the CDS with effect from 31 December.

"Government has decided to appoint General Rawat as the Chief of Defence Staff with effect from 31 December and until further orders and extension in service of General Rawat with effect from 31 December and till the period he holds the office of CDS," the defence ministry said.

Soon after his appointment, the Indian Army congratulated him via its official Twitter handle.

"The appointment would bring in enhanced #Synergy #Jointness #Interoperability in the Armed forces," the tweet said.

CDS Rawat will have his office in South Block and will take over on 1 January after a tri-services guard of honour. New Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane will be given an Army Guard of Honour on same day for assuming command of the force, ANI reported, quoting defence officials.

Incidentally, Rawat was supposed to retire from service on Tuesday, after completing a full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff.

The government had set the age of retirement for the CDS at 65. Thus, Rawat, born in 1958, will be eligible to hold the post till 2023. However, since the government has not yet specified the CDS’ tenure, the span of Rawat’s stint is still unclear.

He will continue to hold the rank of a 4-star general during his stint as the CDS.

A Matter of Pride and Honour: Uttarakhand CM

Soon after his appointment as the first CDS, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat congratulated General Bipin Rawat, saying it is a matter of pride and honour for Uttarakhand.

General Rawat hails from Pauri district in Uttarakhand.

Role of CDS

According to news agency PTI, a key mandate of the CDS will be to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands.

Officials said bringing about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services within three years will be a major mandate of the CDS.

The tri-service agencies, organisations and commands relating to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS and he will also function as military advisor to the Nuclear Command Authority.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had, in a decision last week, approved the creation of the CDS who would act as the principal military advisor to the defence minister on all matters relating to tri-services.

General Rawat had assumed charge as Chief of Army Staff on 31 December 2016. Before becoming army chief, he had handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the Northeast.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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