Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, 14 June, announced that the appointment of the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will be made soon.
"The appointment of the CDS will be made soon. The process for it is underway," the defence minister said during a media briefing in Delhi on the rollout of the 'Agnipath' recruitment scheme for the armed forces.
The post of the tri-services chief has been vacant since General Bipin Rawat's death in a helicopter crash on 8 December 2021. General Rawat was the 27th Chief of Army Staff before being appointed as the first CDS of the country on 1 January 2020.
Earlier this month, the government had expanded the selection pool for the top position. According to the new rules, any serving or retired lieutenant general, air marshal, and vice-admiral under the age of 62 years will be considered eligible for appointment to the post of CDS.
The three-star officers are now eligible to become the CDS, along with the serving chiefs of the three services, according to the changes made to the Army, Air Force, and Navy Acts.
The Post of CDS
The post of CDS was first suggested by the Kargil Review Committee, set up under the Vajpayee government three days after India's famous victory in the 1999 Kargil War.
Among the many recommendations of the committee was the need to fix the lack of coordination between the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 20 years after the recommendations were made, announced in his 2019 Independence Day speech that his government had agreed to create a post titled Chief of Defence Staff of the Indian Armed Forces.
The holder of this post, for the purposes of better coordination and service effectiveness would lead the committee (Chiefs of Staff Committee or the CoSC) consisting of the chiefs of the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force.
What Is the New Agnipath Scheme?
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday announced the Agnipath scheme under which youth will be selected for the forces. Agnipath will allow "patriotic and motivated youth," known as Agniveers to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years, as per a press release.
During this period of service to the nation, the Agniveers will be imparted with various military skills and experience, discipline, physical fitness, and leadership qualities.
Enrolment will be based on ‘All India All Class’ basis and the eligible age will be in the range of 17.5 to 21 years.
"They would form a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing ranks. Upon the completion of four years of service, based on organisational requirement and policies promulgated by the Armed Forces from time-to-time, Agniveers will be offered an opportunity to apply for permanent enrolment in the Armed Forces... 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year."Defence Ministry
Enrolment will be undertaken through an online centralised system for all three services with specialised rallies and campus interviews from recognised technical institutes such as Industrial Training Institutes and National Skills Qualifications Framework, among others.