Forces await decision on permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee by new government
Outgoing Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba handed over the baton of the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee - the apex body for all tri-service military affairs - to Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa at a ceremony in South Block, New Delhi, on May 29.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa will take over as Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee on May 31 upon the retirement of Admiral Lanba.
The chairmanship of the apex tri-service body traditionally devolves upon the senior-most service chief, although the three service are now in agreement on a permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, and await a decision on this matter by the Government. Earlier, the Indian Air Force (IAF) for a long time opposed the concept of both the Chief of Defence Staff and even a permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee.
The role of Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee is performed by the senior most service chief in addition to his primary role of helming his own service.
The tri-service Strategic Forces Command and the Andaman and Nicobar Command report to the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee. Emerging tri-services formations like the divisions for special forces operations, space and cyber warfare will also report to this body. The increasing emphasis on jointmanship will necessitate clear and robust command structures and an evolution of the present arrangement.
Chief Dhanoa will be Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee for four months, after which he retires from service. If the present system continues, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat will take over this mantle on September 30 for just three months.