Narendra Modi inspecting the Guard of Honour at Red Fort on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day | PIB
Narendra Modi inspecting the Guard of Honour at Red Fort on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day | PIB
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to improve coordination among the three forces has left the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) fraternity jittery. Conscious of their prime place in the bureaucratic hierarchy and also in relation to other services, IAS officers are anxious about the CDS’s status vis-à-vis the cabinet secretary, the senior-most civil servant, which would re-define their standing in comparison with their military counterparts.

In his Independence Day speech Thursday, PM Modi had announced the creation of the CDS to “further sharpen coordination among the forces” and to make them “even more effective”. The modalities of this new institution are still being worked out, said officials in the defence establishment.

In the table of precedence in which dignitaries and officials are listed as per their rank and office, the cabinet secretary is at the 11th position, followed by the chiefs of staff holding the rank of full general or equivalent. The Chief of Army Staff, a four-star general, is, for instance, senior to the defence secretary, but comes below the cabinet secretary in the order of precedence.

IAS officers are anxious about the CDS’s place in this order: Will he be a five-star officer ranked above the three service chiefs who are four-star officers, or will he also be a four-star officer, the first among equals?

“We don’t oppose creation of CDS post. But any attempt to degrade Defence Secy or shift MoD civil services under CDS won’t be tolerated. We’ll protest such move and fight tooth and nail (sic),” wrote @IAS_Fraternity, the Twitter handle of an Uttar Pradesh-cadre IAS officer.

In another tweet, the officer said: “CDS under any circumstance won’t have any control over civil services in MoD. His jurisdiction will only be limited to armed forces. Just like Defence Secretary doesn’t have any control over AFs in MoD. His jurisdiction is limited to civilian staff in MoD. Demarcation must be clear.”

Supremacy of civilian over military

Several officers ThePrint spoke to argued that in order to maintain the supremacy of the civilian administration over the military, it is imperative that the CDS is a rank below or, at most, equivalent to the cabinet secretary.

“The CDS cannot be higher than the cabinet secretary because that would mean the senior-most military officer is senior to the senior-most civil officer,” said an IAS officer who did not want to be named.

However, another officer saw no reason to make it an issue. “The CDS would be running a separate secretariat which would have a dotted line that connects it to the defence ministry. It’s not as though the civil servants in the ministry would have to suddenly report to him…. Those fears appear to be unfounded,” this officer said.

Many officers sought to draw a parallel between the CDS and the National Security Advisor, whose status was upgraded to the cabinet rank after Modi returned to power for a second term.

“It’s not as though the home secretary reports to the NSA. The NSA is, of course, senior to the home secretary in rank, but it is not as though his position impeded on the functioning of the office of the home secretary,” said a senior civil servant.

But all these views and apprehensions of IAS officers about the CDS remain mere conjectures, as the government hasn’t worked out the modalities yet.


Also read: Will Chief of Defence Staff’s role clash with that of NSA? A Lt General answers it for you


 

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I think this is article is not very apt in terms of its sample size as this does not show the ego of All IAS cadre( it shows view of very few officers ). Also in everyservice be it civil or military……. some officers are worried of their positions as both of them have attained their position by working hard for a large part of their lives…………………… also in reality majority of civil and military officers respect each other very much snd they have been working with each other ………………. many civil and military officers I know share very good relations with each other and they also talk that the debate and issue of tussle between military and bureaucracy is on media platforms only as this is one of the favourite topics that increase viewership…………………… they accept that some officers may feel the heat between each other but by and large the officers respect each other…………….. and in a democracy the majority view must be taken into account………………………. moreover we must also recognise the fact that both services are very important for the nation …………………………… also i would like to prove my point by giving facts and not opinions….. they are:-
    1. The bureaucracy is not against the military as the post of CDS was for the first time recommended after the Kargil war by MR. K Subramaniam who was an IAS officer of 1951 batch and he also considered the major reformer of defence policy in India ……….. also this move was supported by many other officers in the cabinet but was not implemented for other POLITICAL REASONS
    2. The defence secretary listens to the three forces chiefs and presents their case in front of the defence minister …………. it is not like the POLPULAR BELEIF thay defence secretary is always an egoist person who addresses defence minister according to his own whims………….. this is an absurd beleif made popular by people who just want to engage in debates that who is superior or inferior or powerful………….. had the defence secretary be against the chiefs the tussle between them would have come from the top military chiefs and defence secretaries just as tussle between top officers comes in front of public( as in Case
    of CBI and between military officials when Gen Rwat was appointed ) …………………. but it has never come in front of media or people openly and has always been discussed under the table by people and only debated by very*10 few media channels who either favour military of bureaucracy

    Just as the saying goes LADAI NA ALLAH MEIN HAI NA BHAGWAN MEIN ………………. LADAI DONO KO MAAN NE AUR BAANT NE WAALE INSAAN MEIN HAI…..( this is just a metaphor and I am not comparing military or bureocracy with ALLAH OR BHAGWAN as some people might conclude😂😂.!!!!!!! So let the military and bureocracy do their work and let us not engage in such debates as it can implant the idea of superiority and inferiority in people who were not skeptical about civil and military relations

  2. Let us get this straight- the best of the members of the IAS can pass of for reasonable good clerks. That is why specialization is not required for them. Today they are in the Finance Ministry, tomorrow with the Home and the day after with the Defence. Their job requirement is only to maintain records and retrieve them when needed. To that extent they are important for the decision makers, the politicians whom we have tasked to govern this country. Unfortunately, in our country it has been the case of the tail wagging the dog. Because of the advantage they enjoy due to continuity in their job they have become adept at manipulating the decision makers. With the the result that most of them have reduced governance to a synonym for corruption and treason. It is high time that this class is dumped and professionals brought in where ever needed. Mere documentation and retrieval fo information can now easily be left to professional data management experts.

  3. Creation of post of CDS is a welcome step. The bureaucracy of this nation has demeaned all other services since ages. They behave and believe themselves to be demigods and in reality are most inefficient. our country needs qualified engineers, doctors, sportsmen,skilled soldiers,honest politicians with strong will and not these self boasting morons. US is US in all fields bcoz it has promoted scientific temper and not mediocre bureaucracy and that’s what India also needs.

  4. Actually in the US the Defence Secretary is appointed by the President. The COAS reports to him and provides direct input to the President. The head of administration in the US Defense department is some nameless individual who provides administrative support. The IAS is a similar organization supposed to control the administration of a department.

    The Armed Forces should report to civil authority this is the Raksha Mantri, not some IAS officer who is not even a subject matter expert – he could well have come from the Department if Coal Mines

  5. Why are the bureaucrats jealous of the military ? Are the IAS only the most intelligent creatires in India? Do they live the tough life style of military officials? The notion of the IAS community that they are Maharajas and their status should be kept above all is nothing but the British era feudal mindset .Military should be answerable to the political leadership not to the ego filled bureaucrats .

  6. India faces unprecedented geo-political challenges, especially considering our neighborhood and with the onset of Hybrid warfare and Space warfare (when the average Babu, is utterly clueless about even the difference between a musket and rifle).

    In light of the above, the babbling of this congregation of parasites (which, by all reports, has produced nothing more than giant, breathtakingly substandard, pile of dogshit for past 70+ years in the arena of defense administration, among other things), is irrelevant.

    The very life and limb of Indians is protected not by empty virtue signalling about “Civil Democratic System”, but by the soldier armed with adequately up to date arms and armor, at the border and by smooth co-ordination between intelligence agencies and security bodies (the lack of which led to both Kargil and 2008 Mumbai).

    And even more than that, the blood of out soldiers is far more precious than the petty privileges and satisfactions of some fat, useless, parasitic, talent less, non-expert slob sitting in some office and counting his perks, whose only qualification in life is having cracked an antiquated exam so that he could extract 60 Lakh dowry.

    These people need to shut the hell up. Someone needs to make them shut up. These scum are a part of the problem.

  7. IAS, IPS in india have turned into parasites…Considers themselves n their petty interests above all…Even national interest is not a matter of concern for them…Inspire being a public servant they consider themselves as masters drawing their parlance from British colonial rulers….

    It’s high time to abolish these services having so called jack of all trades master of non, step by step and to encourage talents from various fields having expertise.

    No one can be above nation n it’s citizen, specially in a democratic setup….

  8. IAS fraternity should voluntarily consider themselves out of the reckoning. Somebody made a very sensible comment : for such a post (of the CDS), only someone who has hands-on experience should be considered, meaning someone who was from within the forces. I think that makes ample sense.

  9. Modi needs to break the monopoly of IAS cadre once for all. This cadre has been a stumbling block in many reforms and their perceived superiority over other services have no specific basis. Modi should pursue the proposal of creating General, Technical and Domain specific service categories and dilute overriding importance of IAS cadre. The position of the CDS will have to be thought through carefully and its position to be determined viz a viz Cabinet Secretary. The role of Defense Secretary as being responsible for the defense of Union of India needs review and may be assigned to the CDS. It is only Modi who has the political will to effect the required changes and show intransigent IAS cadre its due place. The country needs efficient service from them and their record is mixed in this area.

  10. This great initiative might not see the light of the day… And if it does it will be sufficiently ruined by the ego clash of the bureaucrats with the military…

  11. The IAS fraternity is only conscious of their superiority. They are biggest impediments in inter service coordinaton. In the interest of the country, this service should be disbanded.

  12. It is the bureaucracy of this country which has more harm than benifit to the nation. It is they who taking undue benit of their being a part of final decision making have successfully pushed out even most intelligent officers; their status has gone up irrespective of their true contribution in nation building. Their supermacy is totally uncalled for; they could never come out of shoes of British Rulers, faster the better.

  13. In a Civil Democracy, a military General should not be above the rank of a highest ranked civilian officer.

    • True… I don’t understand why IAS FRATERNITY thinks that cabinet secretary post is superior than all other posts. It is not mentioned anywhere..cabinet secretary is FIRST AMONG EQUALS… So he is not supreme leader.. Other secretaries e. g. Foreign secretary, revenue secretary etc are also equal to him in stature… It’s just that because he works directly with the cabinet he is called as first but that doesn’t mean that IAS is the most deserving service

  14. Lobby of so called elite service (IAS, sic) so strong that to keep their interest intact they go to any extent even sabotage the greater interest of internal n external Administration

  15. What practical benefit will flow from the new post, time will tell. However, the wrangling over warrant of precedence has already started. There is no question of any military officer outranking the Cabinet Secretary. As a matter of fact, the Defence Secretary should be higher in protocol than the three service chiefs, as the Home Secretary in a state is in relation to the DGP. There is a lot of nostalgia for colonial times when the Commander in Chief lived in Teen Murti Bhavan, down the road from the Viceroy.

    • Why? What contribution these IAS guys have. Anyways for your info service chief are above your def secretary and CDS should be above Cabinet Secy. India faces many external challenges which military can solve and not your IAS lobby.

      • You people lack very basic understanding of Civil Democratic System but only write with mindless emotions, here it is not about who does what, it is about putting military leadership above all which is not a healthy sign of a civil democracy. You know where is number of Chief of Defence Staff of USA? It is at 23 number…. and it is same in all progressive democracies.

        • What I do know is that India faces unprecedented geo-political challenges, especially considering our neighborhood and with the onset of Hybrid warfare and Space warfare (when the average Babu, is utterly clueless about even the difference between a musket and rifle).

          In light of the above, your empty preening about so called “Civil Democratic System” (which, by all reports, has produced nothing more than giant, breathtakingly substandard, pile of dogshit for past 70+ years in the arena of defense administration, among other things), is irrelevant.

          The very life and limb of Indians is protected not by empty virtue signalling about “Civil Democratic System”, but by the soldier armed with adequately up to date arms and armor, at the border and by smooth co-ordination between intelligence agencies and security bodies (the lack of which led to both Kargil and 2008 Mumbai).

          So take your “Civil Democratic System” and shove it up your ass. We want results.

          And even more than that, the blood of out soldiers is far more precious than the petty privileges and satisfactions of some fat, useless, talent less, non-expert, bitch ass parasite sitting in some office and counting his perks, whose only qualification in life is having cracked an antiquated exam so that he could extract 60 Lakh dowry.

          And don’t even bother comparing to Americans. The American getup works, which is why they don’t fix it. Ours is load of crap that needs to be flushed.

        • Ok we never knew that our defence secy is equal to the defence secy of US. The RM is only” pichlaggu”

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