In 24 December 2019, the cabinet meeting chaired by Shri Narendra Modi Prime minister of India accepted a long pending demand of military reforms and create a new 
post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee on security. The chief of defence staff (CDS) and Department of military affairs (DMA) are the biggest independent India’s biggest military reforms.
The CDS is a high military office that oversee and coordinates the working of the three services .The CDS is the four star officer with salary and perquisites equivalent to a service chief but first among chief of the tri-services chief. The CDS will not hold any military command. The CDS will be come into RTI. 

1)      Kargil review committee: First time the post of the chief of defence staff suggested by the committee in 2000 during the failure the coordination of the armed forces between Army and Air Force in Kargil war in 1999.

2)      The Naresh Chandra Committee: In 2012, the committee recommended the appointment of a permanent chairman of chiefs of staff committee (COSC).

3)      Lt Gen. D.B. Shekatkar committee: in 2016, the committee recommended the CDS and theatre commands.

4)      In December 2019, the Cabinet Committee onsecurity formally established the post of chief of defence staff, a four star general and tri-service chief.

Four star general officer
Member of
1)      Chief of staff committee
2)      National security council
3)      Defence acquisition council
4)      Defence planning committee
5)      Nuclear command authority
Reports to
Minister of Defence
New Delhi
Appointment of committee of the cabinet
Term length
Three years or until attain the age of 65 years
First CDS
General Bipin Rawat (Till December 2022)

Functions of chief of Defence staff:

1)      CDS is government‘s principal military advisor (Nuclear command authority), head of newly created department of military affairs (DMA) and permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee.

2)      Department of military affairs (DMA) will facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilization of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including the establishment of joint or theatre command .

3)      Integration of the armed forces and bring under joint command.

4)      Implement five years defence capital acquisition plan( DCAP), and two year roll on annual acquition plan (AAP).

5)      Authority to direct the service chief of Army, Navy and Air Force.

Why India needs the theatre command:

1)      Develop integrated theatre commands which helps to keep requirement of military during joint operations.

2)      India is surrounded by nuclear weapon armed countries such as China and Pakistan with 4000km disputed boundaries so that we need a model suited to our context and needs.

3)      Since independence, three armed forces have independent training, planning and war’ strategies. This leads to the wastage of resources which causes dissipation of combat potential. So that creation of CDS is important and prevent this.

4)      Lack of inter service coordination during logistics purchase branches to cause lost to govt’s exchequer. During integration of services command helps to prevent govt. revenue.

5)      Creation of logistics commands helps to prevention of enormous wastage caused by stockpiling of inventory by various units of three commands. This helps to creation common inventory.

Presently, India has 17 single services commands of three armed forces in which seven of the army, seven of air force and three of navy is present. Only one tri-service command which is present in the Andaman & Nicobar. After the formation of CDS, These commands reduce to existing single services commands to fewer joint commands.

Proposed commands:

1)      Integrated western theatre command: it includes geographically unit of J&K, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. It subsumes western, southern, south-western Commands.

2)      Integrated Northern theatre command: it includes geographically unit of Ladakah, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand. It subsumes Northern command and central command.

3)      Integrated Eastern theatre command: It includes geographically unit of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. It subsumes Eastern Army Command and Eastern Air Command.

4)      Integrated Southern theatre command: It includes geographically unit of all peninsular India including west Bengal, Gujarat and Odisha. It subsumes Southern Command, Southern Naval Command, Western Naval Command and Eastern Naval Command.

5)      Integrated Air Defence command: it subsumes all existing air defence assets of Army and Air Force.

6)      Integrated logistics command: it subsumes of all logistics arms of the three services.

7)      Andaman & Nicobar command: it involves geographically unit of Andaman & Nicobar. It subsumes of Navy, Air Force and Army assets of the island territories.

As compare to the other countries, the U.S, Russia and China have reorganized their military and divided into different command.   
         A)     The U.S. divided into six commands as Southern Command, Northern command, central command, European command, Africa command and Indo-Pacific command.

         B)      Russia divided into five strategic commands as western operational strategic command,  Eastern operational strategic command, Southern operational strategic command, Central 
    operational strategic command and Arctic operational strategic command.

        C)      China re-organized its 2.3 million people liberation army in 2016. China divided into five theatrics commands as Southern theatre command, western theatre command, Eastern theatre command, Northern theatre command and central theatre command.

Arguments against CDS:

1)      The Indian services is not expeditory force like other western countries, no necessity of the CDS in India.

2)      Diminution of the individual role of Indian army’s operational role.

3)      Military by nature tend to resist transformation such as creation of CDS post.

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