Wednesday, March 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Chief of Defence Staff on cards
Cabinet to review security revamping
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 27
In what seems to be a direct reaction to the Jane’s Intelligence Review report of Pakistan having already put its nuclear control and command procedure and also deciding on its delivery systems, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today directed that the recommendations of the Group of Ministers’ on reforming the national security system be implemented and various measures to be taken for it be placed before the Cabinet for formal approval.

The measures would include the establishment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) which is a long standing demand of the Armed Forces and granting of greater powers to Service Headquarters.

This significant decision was taken by the Prime Minister after consultations with Defence Minister Jaswant Singh earlier during the day.

The establishment of a CDS would be a major step forward for India also establishing its Nuclear Command and Control System and it could mean a totally independent post from that of the Chief of Army Staff as directions have also been given for the review of the possible appointment of an Inspector General of Army.

The decision taken today also gave indications of the CDS also possibly getting the control of the country’s nuclear arsenal which essentially would be through the land delivery methods.

According to reports directions have also been given for the commencement of the necessary preparatory work for the implementation of the recommendations pertaining to the ‘Management of Defence’.

Instructions in this direction had been long awaited and there had been intense criticism of the government over the delay in establishing of the Nuclear Control and Command System. This specially as the recommendations of the GoM had been pending with the government over the past few months and more importantly that the draft of the country’s nuclear doctrine had been presented almost two years ago.

As per reports, Mr Jaswant Singh has authorised the Chief of Army Staff to proceed with the review of the logistics and personnel functions in the Army and the appointment of an Inspector General of the Army.

In recognition of the stellar role it has been playing in counter insurgency operations, the Rashtriya Rifles, raised as a paramilitary force in 1990, is to be designated as part of the regular army and will rank as a ‘regiment’. Its manpower and budget provisions will continue as before.

The CDS issue has been a controversial one ever since the post was mooted several years ago but the current opinion is that a single point of reference was needed in the backdrop of India going nuclear. There have been reservations to the creation of a CDS as it might undermine the powers of the three chiefs and lead to a psychological mismatch.

Besides the establishment of a CDS and associated structures, the much needed enhancement of delegated administrative and financial powers to the Service Headquarters has been a long-standing demand of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Priority will also be given to the implementation of the recommendation to constitute a Defence Procurement Board and associated structures.

The Group of Ministers had set up four task forces — management of defence, border management, internal security and intelligence apparatus — following the findings of the Kargil Review Committee. The task forces had submitted their reports some time back.

Since the recommendations of the Group of Ministers were finalised in consultation with the ministries and agencies concerned, there was no need for further departmental examination before the matter is taken to the Cabinet in the very near future for final orders.

“The process of implementation may however necessitate further studies on specific aspects”.

The Prime Minister has approved the proposal that revised rates of war injury pension will be extended to those injured prior to 1996 and the necessary formalities to ensure speedy implementation of this decision will be completed as early as possible.

The government has decided to institute a National War Museum at the earliest and details of the proposal will be released shortly.

The Defence Minister has decided to give priority to meeting the accommodation requirements of defence personnel, including the allocation of higher budgetary outlays wherever required.

The government will also pursue expeditiously the review and wherever necessary amending procedures governing civilian recognition and certification of technical qualifications obtained by defence personnel like pilots, air traffic controllers and mariners.

The defence ministry will announce schemes for providing medical care to ex-servicemen at the district level.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |