Why India needs a CDS?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by neo29, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Most of the countries across the globe, big and small, have created the post of Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), who acts as single point military adviser to the government on military strategy, doctrines, and their requirements and in nuclear powered countries the CDS advises the head of state on nuclear doctrines and its use. The CDS also brings in synergy between the various branches of the armed forces which is crucial to win a war in the
    changing geo-political scenario. But 60 years after Independence, India that has the second largest standing army, fourth largest air force and fifth largest navy strangely lacks it.

    Particularly in India’s context, as the country evolves as a strong economic and military power and as our nuclear arsenal and doctrine evolves, a CDS is must to take swift decisions on the use of the military or in the event of a retaliatory nuclear strike (we have committed to a no-first-strike).

    In India the armed forces, the ones who fight on the field, are totally out of the loop in decision making and policy discussions due to perpetual fear of the Indian politicians that handing more power to the military would be counterproductive (so called fear of military becoming too powerful). Even during the Phokran tests in 1998, the military was informed just before the detonation that too just in case Pakistan resorts to any misadventures on the border and the military was taken by surprise when India disclosed that it has Chemical weapons.

    The lack of a CDS has been felt during all the wars and even during peace times particularly during the 1962 with China where we faced a humiliating defeat. It was well known fact at that time that we had a better air force than the Chinese, but it was never called in due to the fear of expanding the conflict.

    Well, had the air force been employed we would have read history in a different way. Fortunately, during the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh, Field Marshal ‘Sam Bahadur’ Manekshaw donned that role and was steadfast in his assessment that we had to wait till December to strike and resisted the pressure from the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to move into East Pakistan which was to later become Bangladesh.

    We all know the course of history in which 93,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered and the largest such instance after World War II and is a case study on military strategy in military schools across the globe. But in the 1999 Kargil conflict the story is back to square one with lack of coordination within the services delaying a quick response. The Indian Army requested the Air Force for air strikes on the high altitude mountains where Pakistani forces have entrenched, but the Air Force asked the army to get the nod from the government. That took a fortnight and by then the causalities mounted on our side. That shows the sad
    state of affairs and gives a glimpse at the level of coordination between the services.

    In the India armed forces, each service feels that it alone can win battles and it alone has the primary role in national defense. There is an urgent need to address this. With Pakistan going nuclear, a long protracted conventional battle is ruled out as any major issue would attract international attention and the “International Community” would step in with diplomatic pressure on the government.

    Hence, the room for action is very limited and for this, there is need for a greater synergy between the forces and mounting a swift and coordinating response is the order of the day to make tactical gains by launching punitive strikes across the border but not big enough to initiate a nuclear standoff. The CDS can bridge the services and give a fillip to this need. The need for a CDS has been long acknowledged but that remains there.

    Both the Kargil Review Committee and the subsequent GOM (Group of Ministers) report in 2001 on reforming the national security system during the NDA government had stressed the need for a CDS to provide single-point military advice to the government and manage the country's nuclear arsenal. Though the political establishment agrees to the need, there has been no concerted effort by successive governments in this direction.

    The lackadaisical approach is only complicating things with India rapidly modernizing its military spending tens of billions of dollars and the raising strategic profile of the country in the region and the world at large. What we need is better synergy between the services in terms of strategy and on the field, evolving doctrine and so on. Presently, there is a post called the Chief of Staff Committee (COSC) rotated among the three services but doesn’t have any power over the others which is not of much help.

    The Indian CDS should be a four or a five star general above the rank of the three service chiefs with power over them but at the same time does not interfere and undermine them. He should head the tri-service strategic Andaman Nicobar command and look after the strategic forces command and all issues related to Indian nuclear doctrine and also issues of procurement and evolving strategy in consultation with the service chiefs and with the
    government. The three service chiefs meanwhile can concentrate on their individual service and to keep it battle ready.

    It’s high time for Indian political establishment to brush aside the unwanted fears and address the issue with utmost priority as the country assumes a prominent role and a powerful voice on the world stage.

    idrw.org security magazine Dec issue
     
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  3. rcscwc

    rcscwc Tihar Jail Banned

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    You have mentioned 1962, 71 and Kargil.

    In 62, the humiliating defeat was due to political failure COMBINED with collapse of military leadership in the FIELD. A 62 veteran was our NCC instructor and he narrated how miserable the leadership was. He claimed that troops shot their officers trying to run away. How could a CDS have stopped this rot?


    Absence of a CDS did not hamper India in 71.

    In Kargil, the parameters of IAF depolyment were and had to restricted. Two aircraft which strayed a few miles were shot down. How could a CDS have accelerated the govt nod for IAF, beats me? A CDS HAS to work under the direction of political leadership. He is not as free an agent as you think.
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    pros and cons are there for CDS. I think rcscwc has pointed out why we dont need one. But as the US system shows, it is of help. India has discussed this many times but didnt come to a conclusion because of on most reasons at least the army thinks it should be in charge.

    I think Ray Sir would be able to talk more on this.
     
  5. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Our babus and all the politicians think that if there is a CDS then they will loose control over the Defence services and one fine day the army may take over the government. This is the reason that they have not come to a conclusion. Either there must be a fearless Government at the centre and should be able to give correct fearcefull answer to whom so ever may attack INDIA or cause distress and harm to the people of INDIA or the politicians should leave the matter to the Defence services and should not interfear in the policies or decission taking of the Defence services.
     
  6. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    my question which country in world has CDS system and how they are choosen. i have read it somewhere that piror to independence and after some time there post of cds or something like that or below that . it was abolished because he can dierctly advice to head of armed forces which in case was president by passing political administration . so our politican where worried and they abolished that post . is it true plz engligten us
     
  7. rcscwc

    rcscwc Tihar Jail Banned

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    It is quite fashionable to level insinusations about civil and political administration vis-a-vis armed forces. The atmosphere in this regard iseady quite vitiated. For 62 debacle if political leadership is to blame, then military leadership cannot escape it. A COAS first resigning, then taking it back and finally ignominously shunted out was not due to political or "babus". He brought it upon himself.

    Fact is the post of CDS has been created. Fact is it has not been filled so far. Fact is that IAF has major reservations about CDS.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  8. rcscwc

    rcscwc Tihar Jail Banned

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    My earlier was limited in scope of 62, 71 and Kargil. This tackles OP in larger scope.

    CDS is not the final authority in taking a decision. Nowhere has this power delegated on CDS, and remains with political leadership. Period.

    Let us seperate the apples and orages. Field formations take local decisions and field commanders in the thick of the battle have and must have power to take immidiate decisions. Chief of staff, far be a CDS, cannot charge of each each and every patrol. Period.

    Sam Bahadur was not the only one to opt for December. That was the optimum time. During December the flows of rivers are at the minimum. Any "bloody" civilian water resources enginner knows that. Bahut door ki kauri nahin laya Sam. There was another reason too, rather many other reasons. ONE was that the Army was not ready [I wonder if it is ready any time. Post parliament it took months to deploy]. Another was that BSF assisted insurgency was undermining Pak defences. If called I can give more.

    Navy was not relevant there in Kargil. Air Force had to operate under severe limitations, as had the Army. Wisdom of PM in this regard is not open to question. Period. His wisdom can be questioned by historians, but not with respect to a CDS or any Chief of Staff.


    Our military leadership will do better to get rid of such notions. CDS too would be from those ranks which have such notions. In modern times, wars are impossible to fight without all out support from every quarter. You think Army can move divisions and tanks without railways who kasso their kamars? Can civilian transport be dispensed with? Can Army secure supply lines on its own? How will a CDS help their?

    Reminds me. Railways are a PRIME target. But railways men are neither trained nor equipped for for self defence from areial attacks. They too get killed. Only nobody knows their names.


    I don't think political leadership is apprehensive of a CDS, who has to operate under the orders of the that leadership, however number stars he has. After all, the President can sack him summarily if needed. It cannot be otherwise. A CNS was sacked like that. Please don't be starry eyed about a CDS.

    There are reservations about the necessity of a CDS, and it is not high on the agenda of any political party.
    ***
    Yusuf, please do not try to extrapolate USA or others to India. USA wants a global presence of its military. Not so for India. France, England etc have far flung possessions, not India.

    ***
    An real case.

    I was posted at Jammu during 1981-83. An old case of 71 against a Junior Engineer was there. He was posted a km from the border on Munnawar Tawi. It was only December ONE that he evacuated [literally at 11th hour hour] and released his staff. He packed the site records, valuable, and deposied with military authorities at Akhnoor, after labelling the forwarding address. To their credit, the Army delivered them to the deivisional office intact. He removed all the sophisticated equipment, but sold them for 5,000. That was the case.

    I was hearing the case. I had called the Army people for evidence who deposed he had NOTHING except records, PLUS the site office was EMPTY before it fell into enemy hands. I exonerated him. Records were more valuable than some equipment, which would fetch 5 lakh today.

    Was he valiant?


    Psss I was convinced that he filched the equipment, crockery, cutelary etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010

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