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Services rules amended for Army, Navy and Air Force, CDS can serve till 65

At least five names have been sent to the PMO for the appointment of first CDS, but the file is yet to be signed.

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New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence has amended the Army, Navy and Air Force rules, bringing in a new clause that allows the newly announced Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to serve till the age of 65 with extension.

The development comes just days ahead of the retirement of Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat, the frontrunner for the post. Rawat is to retire on 31 December.

No change, however, has been made to the tenure of the service chiefs, which stands at three years or till reaching the age of 62.

While the new notification sets the retirement age, it does not mention the tenure of the CDS, one of the biggest defence reforms since Independence.

Gen Rawat, who is yet to reach 62 years of age, is retiring because he has completed his stipulated three-year tenure as the Chief of Army Staff.

“Currently, changes have been made to the Rules and not the Acts. These changes in statutory rules were important to facilitate the new appointment and the retirement modalities,” Major Navdeep Singh (retd), a lawyer specialising in military law, told ThePrint. “Changes in the Acts can only be made in Parliament. The power of the command of respective Services continues to vest in the Service chiefs.”

Speculation rife on CDS, over five names sent to PM 

As the date of Gen Rawat’s retirement nears, speculation remains rife on who will actually make it to the post of the CDS.

Highly placed sources in the government said at least five names have been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and a final call is yet to be taken.

“The file has not been signed yet. Once it is signed, will one actually know who the new CDS is,” a source told ThePrint.

The Narendra Modi government had Tuesday announced the creation of a new Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the defence ministry. The new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will serve as the secretary of this department.

The DMA, headed by the four-star CDS, will look after the affairs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, but will have no operational control over individual organisations, which will remain with the respective service chiefs.

“The CDS will be focusing on tri-service issues and will be streamlining procurement. It will be a secretary in the Ministry of Defence like other secretaries in charge of defence production and ex-servicemen welfare,” a source said.

Also read: Modi govt’s CDS-Dept of Military Affairs: Cosmetic change or increasing defence efficiency?


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  1. In government, first the officer is selected, then the rules are framed to accommodate that decision. Difficult to recall the last cabinet secretary who did not receive at least a couple of extensions.

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