India appoints new Chief of Defence Staff


Lt General Anil Chauhan appointed new CDS: Nine months after the death of the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in a tragic helicopter crash, Indian government Wednesday cleared the name Lt. General Anil Chauhan (retd.) for appointment as the country’s top military officer. Lt Anil Chauhan is considered an expert on China and he was eastern army commander at the time of his retirement last year.

This is the first time that a retired army officer has been named as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The officer will also function as Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Military Affairs and will be the top military advisor to the country’s defence minister in all security related matters.

Lt General Chauhan is expected to take forward the jointness and theaterization of Indian military that was conceived by General Bipin Rawat but could not be implemented due to his tragic death in a helicopter crash in southern India in December last year.

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India's new Chief of Defence Staff Lt General Anil Chauhan.

Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (r), has been named new Chief of Defence Staff. (File Photo)

India’s new CDS: Lt General Anil Chauhan

In a nearly four decades long military career, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (retd) had held several command and staff appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern parts of the country.

Born on 18th May 1961, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981. His predecessor Gen Bipin Rawat was also from Gorkha Rifles.

Chauhan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. In the rank of Maj General, the officer had commanded an Infantry Division in Baramula sector in the terrorism hit Jammu and Kashmir.

Later as Lt General, Chauhan commanded a corps in the North East and later became the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command. He held the post from September 2019 to May 2021.

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PM Modi’s biggest military reform

Appointment of Chief of Defence Staff is one of the biggest military reforms carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as concentration of military powers in one military officer has always been a sensitive issue in the country.

In India, the office of CDS is considered to be first among equals and there are only four 4-star military officers in the country – the CDS and chiefs of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

“In a career spanning over nearly 40 years, he (Chauhan) has held several command, staff and instrumental appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu Kashmir and North-East India,” said defence ministry in a release.

The CDS is also the single point of contact for the government for giving military advice and is the senior-most bureaucrat in the defence ministry which has four major departments. The appointment comes amid efforts by the government to give a big push to indigenisation in the equipment for defence forces.

Lt General Chauhan is recipient of Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal.

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