After CDS Gen Bipin Rawat’s death, Army Chief General MM Naravane takes charge as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee


Guwahati: After the unfortunate death of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash on December 8, the government on Wednesday appointed General MM Naravane, Chief of Army Staff, as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (Chairman, CoSC). The post was felt vacant after the demise of CDS Rawat. 

A source on Wednesday confirmed: “General Naravane has taken over the role of the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, which includes the Chiefs of Navy and Air Force Staff too.” General Naravane is the senior-most chief of the Staff.

Important issues related to the armed forces are handled by this committee. With the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in December 2019, General Rawat as the CDS had become the first permanent CoSC. CDS is the fourth and permanent member of the CoSC.

The old practice entailed that the senior-most officer among the three services was taking over as the Chairman, CoSC. “The Armed Forces have a clear line of command and role for every position to remove any ambiguity. Since there is no name announced for the post of CDS, this is just a stopgap arrangement.” sources in the defence establishment said.

The CDS also heads the department of military affairs as its secretary. In the absence of CDS, the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, Air Marshal Balabhadra Radha Krishna will report to General Naravane, said the sources adding he will be the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff.

However, the work of the secretary in the Department of Military Affairs is being looked at by additional secretary Lt General Anil Puri. Lt General Puri is the second senior-most officer in the DMA.

This extraordinary situation emanated from the untimely death of Gen Bipin Rawat. General Rawat was killed along with his wife Madhulika Rawat, his defence assistant Brig LS Lidder, his staff officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh and 11 others, including pilots and his personal staff.

The lone survivor was Defence Services Staff College directing officer Group Captain Varun Singh but he also succumbed to injuries on December 15.

As per the mandate, the DMA plays a crucial role in bringing jointness in procurement, training, posting and staffing for the services through joint planning and integration of their requirements.

The CDS deals with the administrative issues of tri-services while the chiefs continue to head the operations for their respective services.

The DMA in December 2019 came up as the fifth Department of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which frames policy directions on defence and security-related matters for implementation by the departments concerned. The other four departments of the MoD are the Department of Defence, the Department of Defence Production, the Department of Defence Research and Development, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).