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Decision on defence reforms in 'few months': Parrikar

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Ministry could in the next "few months" finalise higher defence reforms to bring in jointness among the three armed services which will include creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar admitted that the services did not want to leave their "turf" but they have "slowly" come to understand that jointness would be much better than individual separate forces.

"I am very clear on it but there were certain aspects which need to be also taken along. I have to take all the three services on board. Let me be very clear, no one wants to leave his turf," he said during a book launch last night.

Underlining that he was not speaking in Indian military context alone, Parrikar said across the militaries, the same situation prevailed.

He added that the question was whether one will "force it down the throat" or get everyone on board.

"I think, I have been discussing with the chiefs and slowly they have also come to understanding that jointness would be much better than individually separate forces," he said, seeking a "few more months".

However, the Defence Minister made it clear that the final call would be taken by the Prime Minister.

Incidentally, the chiefs of both the Army and the Air Force will retire this year end.

Without naming any operation, he said though India has not gone for jointness, "recent operations" were quite successful joint operations.

"The Air Force and the Army integrated so well in recent operations, not saying which operation. There was total synergy and there was no problem in working together," he remarked.

The post of CDS was recommended in 2001 by a Group of Ministers (GoM) which was set up in April 2000 to review the national security system in the aftermath of the Kargil War.

The recommendation, if implemented, would be the first major military reform by the Narendra Modi government, which has already announced significant changes in the procurement process.

Sources said the appointment of CDS is aimed at promoting "jointness at the top" when it comes to planning, operations and modernisation of the military.

Though India has a tri-service command, it is headed by a three-star officer who is junior to the military chiefs who are four-star.

The post of the CDS is likely to be a four-star and he would be in-charge of the tri-services command at Andaman and Nicobar islands, the strategic command in-charge of nuclear weapons along with the upcoming cyber and space command.

Parrikar said in the coming months the Andaman and Nicobar command will become a joint command in "real sense" as it was the "need of the hour", adding that currently there was only a "partial joint command".

Stating that some joint acquisition was being done, Parrikar pointed out that jointness can save the country lot of money.

"We are are replicating the same thing. Air Force does the same thing. Army does the same thing. If there is jointness, lot of things can be synchronised.

"Jointness of acquisition will be advantageous. In fact we are doing some joint acquisition. Give me few more months," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had late last year called for "jointness at the top" of the military establishment.

Parrikar had in March last year said that CDS was a must and hoped to propose a mechanism for the creation of the post within the next three months.

The defence minister said he does not care about what people say about him taking more time even though he had given a time period.

"I realised if I hurry, I will do something which will not taste well just because my ego says 'I said six months, I should force it in six months'," he said, adding he was "not there to satisfy his ego".

"I am there to ensure it happens properly. So I decided that someone may say anything about it, I will do it properly.

Today I am confident that I have understood," he said.


India  Parrikar  Defence  Reforms  MoD  

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