INDIA: New post to improve military integration
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in mid-August 2019 the establishment of the post of chief of defense staff for better coordination among the Army, Air Force and Navy.
Indian defense experts have long called for such a post that is analogous to the structure of many Western military forces to ensure the three defense arms operate together.
“Our forces are India’s pride. To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision. … India will have a chief of defense staff,” Modi said in an Independence Day address on August 15, 2019.
India had organized its military into three services, each led by its own chief, since independence from Britain in 1947. Such an arrangement was thought necessary to prevent too much power from being concentrated in the hands of a single commander.
However, with military operations now involving close integration, many countries have moved to a single chief of defense staff to direct the military and report directly to the political executive for faster decision-making.
Modi said the establishment of a chief of defense staff was an important step toward military reform. The new chief will also have control over funding for the military, which is working to modernize its Soviet-era equipment. Reuters