Following the tragic death of former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat in December 2021, the government has announced the name of Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) as the next CDS, after a gap of nine months.
The appointment comes amidst the long stand-off between the armies of India and China, ongoing Russia-Ukraine war as well as recent reports of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan flaring up again. Over all China continues its belligerence on land and sea. “While continental challenges are well taken care of, the issue is with maritime challenges which are only going to grow,” opines Indian Army Veteran Lt Col Manoj K Channan.
A highly decorated officer, after his retirement the General Officer was appointed as military advisor in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), headed by the National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval.
As has been reported in Financial Express Online earlier, in June this year the Ministry of Defence had made amendments to the Service Rules of the Armed forces. These changes include:
-All serving and recently retired three-star officers below the age of 62 are eligible for the post of CDS. Lieutenant General, Air Marshal and Vice Admiral can be appointed to this post.
· The service of CDS can be extended by the government for such a period as it considers necessary.
· The maximum age for this post will be 65 years only.
Appointment of CDS
Lt Col Manoj K Channan, Veteran, says, “The Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff are from Juliet Squadron National Defence Academy. The COAS (Chief of Army Staff) is Lima Squadron, National Defence Academy.
Therefore, the Chief of Defence Staff and three service chiefs, having known each other from their cadet days, would have a greater understanding and an efficient work culture.”
Why was Lt Gen Anil Chauhan chosen to be the next Chief of Defence Staff?
According to Lt Col Channan, “It is obvious that many would think, that his tenure as the military advisor and proximity to the NSA, catapulted him to the four-star rank; it is obvious that amongst the many who were his contemporaries would have been evaluated for the top job, and the deep selection process approved his name.”
“The government has continued to remain focused on appointing the new CDS with extensive experience in counter insurgency operations. He is reportedly very well versed with the border issues in particular to our Northern and Eastern borders. He is known to be a military scholar, having published a book at the rank of a colonelwhile posted in the Perspective Planning Directorate of Army Headquarters,” explains the Indian Army veteran.
A Veteran’s views
“The general is known to have balanced views and is firm in his convictions on all matter’s military. Known to be a quiet man, he is not likely to be vociferous in the public domain,” he adds.
“Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retd) is known to convey his point of view, to the government on all matters military without creating any turbulence and is likely to take a consensus on issues of the organisational restructuring of the Indian Defence Forces.
Though, the focus on Counter Insurgency operations is unwarranted, the army is moving away from Counter Insurgency to conventional warfare in the mountains, while marinating a strong dissuasion posture,” says the Indian Army’s veteran.
“He would have to take a stock of major procurement decisions which are in the pipeline which cannot be delayed much longer. I wish the new CDS, a successful and satisfying tenure, as India braces with multiple challenges internally and externally,” Lt Col Channan states.