The appointment of Retd Lt-Gen Anil Chauhan as India’s Chief of Defence Staff nearly 10 months after Gen Bipin Rawat died in a helicopter crash ends the vacuum that was keenly felt for several months now. Gen Chauhan’s return to active military service, after having served as military adviser to NSA Ajit Doval, will require him to hit the ground running especially in relation to the restructuring of the armed forces into unified commands.
Gen Rawat had initiated the difficult task of bringing together the three services, which have largely operated in silos and are known to jealously guard their turf. His passing was a huge setback but the new appointment suggests GoI is ready to get cracking again. India creating the four unified commands has become imperative in view of the threat from China from land and sea. With the Army investing in armed drone-swarms it is clear that the focus is clearly on catching up with Chinese technological capabilities.
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Like the Agniveers, unified commands is also a big bang reform. The Chinese did this essential restructuring years ago.The incoming CDS has big boots to fill given how Gen Rawat was adept at managing the political, military and bureaucratic establishments. Gen Chauhan’s first task will be to secure the enthusiastic backing of the three service chiefs for the unified commands.
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