The Union Ministry of Defence has issued a notification seeking to broaden the scope of appointing eligible officers for the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
As per the notification, the new CDS could be anyone from among the three service chiefs or any serving 3-star officer or any retired chief or retired 3-star officer who is below the age of 62.
Thus in the widened pool any serving or retired Lieutenant General, Air Marshal and Vice Admiral under the age of 62 years will be eligible for the post. This essentially opens the doors for the second-highest active rank officers of the tri-services to possibly supersede their seniors -- the chief of the army, air force, or navy -- to assume the role of the CDS.
The notification further says that the government may extend the service of the Chief of Defence Staff for such a period as it may deem necessary, subject to a maximum age of 65 years.
The tenure of three service chiefs is three years of service or when they turn 62, whichever is earlier.
General Bipin Rawat had retired as Army Chief and was then elevated as India's first CDS. He was, therefore, older than the service chiefs and outranked them when he was appointed CDS.
The post of CDS has been lying vacant since the death of General Rawat in a chopper crash. The CDS has a mandate to bring convergence in the functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country’s overall military prowess.