INDIA. Mumbai: The Defence Ministry announced that Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) has been appointed as the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and he will also function as Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Military Affairs, on Wednesday.
The mandate of the CDS, as the primary military advisor to the government, includes acting as a link among the armed forces, creating integrated theatre commands, and prioritising capital acquisition for the modernization of forces. It was created as a dual role since the CDS was also appointed as Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs. It was touted as one of the most significant reforms in the top echelons of the military, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the creation of the post during his Independence Day speech in 2019.
The post of CDS fell vacant on December 8, 2021, after the sudden demise of General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on December 8, 2021. In the air crash, Rawat, his wife, and a dozen others were killed. India has been left without a CDS since then. Appointed on December 31, 2019, Rawat was to have a three-year tenure until the end of this year. Lt. Gen. becomes the second CDS in the country.
Lt. Gen. Anil Chauhan retired as the General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) of Eastern Command in May 2021. In a career spanning over 40 years, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan held several command, staff, and instrumental appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and North-East India.
Born on May 18, 1961 in Uttarakhand, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan was commissioned into the Army’s 11 Gorkha Rifles in 1981. Anil Chauhan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla (Maharashtra) and the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun (Uttarakhand).
“In the rank of Maj General, he commanded an infantry division in the critical Baramulla sector (Kashmir) in the Northern Command. Later, as Lt General, he commanded a corps in the North East and subsequently went to become the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command in September 2019 and held the charge until he retired from the service in May 2021. Earlier, he had also served on a United Nations mission to Angola. The officer superannuated from the Indian Army on May 31, 2021. In addition to these command positions, he also held important staff appointments, including the charge of Director General of Military Operations,” the Ministry’s statement said.
“Even after he retired from the Army, he continued to contribute to national security and strategic matters. For his distinguished service in the Army, he was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal, and Vishisht Seva Medal,” the Ministry said.
In June, the government amended service rules of the armed forces and made all serving and recently retired three-star officers. Under the age of 62, Lt. General, Air Marshal, and Vice Admiral are eligible for the post. This important change in eligibility criteria facilitated the appointment of Lt Gen Anil Chauhan as CDS. His appointment comes over three months after the government amended rules for appointment to the post of CDS.