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  • Abhishek Tyagi asked: Is there any proposal to reform the higher defence organisation in India and create the post of the Chief of Defence Staff?

    Rajneesh Singh replies: Reform to the Higher Defence Organisation of India has been a long standing demand of the Services and of the strategic community. In the wake of the Kargil war, the Government of India had constituted the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) to look into the episode of Pakistan’s aggression in the Kargil Sector. The Committee comprised of four members, namely Mr. K. Subrahmanyam (Chairman), Lieutenant General (retd.) K. K. Hazari, Mr. B.G. Verghese and Mr. Satish Chandra, Secretary, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and also Member Secretary.

    A Group of Ministers (GOM) was also constituted by the Prime Minister on April 17, 2000 to review the national security system in its entirety and in particular to consider the recommendations of the KRC and formulate specific proposals for implementation. The GOM after initial deliberations decided to address the recommendations of the KRC through four Task Forces, one each in the areas of Intelligence Apparatus, Internal Security, Border Management and Management of Defence. The Task Forces considered not only the recommendations of the KRC falling within their respective competencies, but also other aspects impinging upon national security which were not touched upon by the KRC. Consequent to deliberations and recommendations of the KRC and the GOM, some changes were made to the Higher Defence Organisation, viz. integration of the Service Headquarters with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), establishment of HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and so on. However, one of the major recommendations of the KRC and the GOM was to have an appointment of the CDS. For variety of reasons, the government did not consider it prudent to establish this appointment.

    In 2011, the government convened Naresh Chandra Committee to deliberate on issues concerning national security. The report of the deliberations of the committee has been submitted to the government and presentation on the key recommendations has been made to the National Security Council (NSC). Both the print and electronic media have carried news items regarding its key recommendations. If the media reports are to be believed, the committee has recommended the appointment of the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The exact details regarding the appointment will only be known once the report is declassified. In all likelihood, the appointment of the CDS may not come through in the near future.

    For more on the subject, refer to the following IDSA publications:

    All essays published in the first issue (vol. 1, Issue 1, 2007) of the Journal of Defence Studies, available at

    Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee: A Midway Solution
    By Rajneesh Singh, August 7, 2012

    A Call for Change: Higher Defence Management in India, IDSA Monograph Series No. 6, 2012, at

    Jointness in Armed Forces and Institution of Post of Chief of Defence Staff are Mutually Exclusive
    By Vinod Patney, Journal of Defence Studies, 2 (1), Summer 2008, at

    Krishna Vikas asked: What can India do to encourage private investments in defence sector?

    Reply: Refer to the following publications on the subject by IDSA faculty:

    Japan’s Defence White Paper 2012 and China’s Critical Response

    Like in the 2011 edition of the Defence White Paper, this year too, the report warns that China’s military movements are “a matter of concern” for the Asian region and the international community, and “should require prudent analysis.”

    August 09, 2012

    Stealth and Counter-stealth Some Emerging Thoughts and Continuing Debates

    If there is one dimension in the air attack–air defence continuum that is riding high on the wings of enabling edge technologies, it is the use of stealth, both in the offensive and defensive domains.

    July 2012

    A Call for Change: Higher Defence Management in India

    A Call for Change: Higher Defence Management in India

    This monograph examines higher defence management and defence reforms in India. It deliberately coincides with Cabinet discussing the Report of Naresh Chandra Committee on defence reforms and aims to initiate a debate on higher defence management and civil-military relations.


    Juliee Sharma asked: What is India's policy and strategy to tackle the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices?

    Ali Ahmed replies: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) pose a threat of two kinds: first is from terrorism targeting population, and second is IEDs aimed at causing casualties among soldiers. The two forms of IED employment by terrorists/insurgents require distinct and overlapping measures. India’s policy to tackle the threat posed by IEDs aims, firstly, at prevention. This at the political level involves mitigation of persisting conflict situations. This has both internal political and diplomatic dimensions. At the strategic level, it implies intelligence and public information. Next, since IEDs are employed in proxy war, increase in their use would imply escalation in the level of confrontation. This can be deterred through diplomatic and conventional means. At the tactical level, it means taking due precaution such as surveillance through electronic means and keeping tabs on explosive material from falling into wrong hands.

    The second element of policy is defensive. These include proper sanitisation of areas under threat through, for instance, road opening drills in counter insurgency areas, and appropriate reaction by quick reaction teams. An example at this level is the periodic IED information bulletin document in Northern Command for speedy dissemination of ‘lessons learnt.’ Third are mitigation measures to reduce casualties by timely evacuation, collecting evidence for follow up and prosecution, etc. Lastly, offensive actions to trace and destroy IED making factories, busting terror cells, etc., may be employed. These could be both military and intelligence operations.

    As far as the strategy against IEDs goes, it is situation specific and guided by the overall policy and counter terror/insurgency doctrine. Since conflict theatres in which IEDs are employed have their unique context and intricacies, strategy is dynamically individuated. There is cross learning from experiences elsewhere, including from abroad. The manner the latter is done is through appropriate doctrine, sensitisation and training.

    Dynamics of Indian Defence Technology: Indianisation, Indigenisation, Industrialisation, Integration

    The philosophy of approach toward military technology is based on purpose, vision, relevance, efficiency and performance. Being Indian in content is what needs to be added to the above! Sixty four years down the line, four battle engagements later, our defence technology story is one of unexpected miracles and unacceptable failures. It is in above context that a holistic understanding of the foundation on which the edifice of the defence industrial base of India needs to be progressively pillared becomes imperative?

    April 2011

    Failing to Deliver: Post-Crises Defence Reforms in India, 1998-2010

    Failing to Deliver: Post-Crises Defence Reforms in India, 1998-2010

    This paper examines the defence reforms process in India and critically examines past efforts and the factors that led to the post-Kargil defence reform. It analyzes the defence reform committees and their follow up.

    A Critical Review of Defence Procurement Procedure 2011

    In the absence of reforms in several areas, DPP-2011 may not be able to achieve its stated objectives of expeditious procurement and greater involvement of domestic industry in defence production.

    January 25, 2011

    Social Networking: Boon or Bane for the Armed Forces

    The social networking sites can be exploited by the cyber operators by infiltration and influencing the opinion where feasible. Cyber espionage has already became the cornerstone of some nations, where international cyber security agencies have reasons to believe, of state complicity in major hacking, denial of service attacks in the last couple of years. Since social networks become easy prey to such agencies, there is a need to increase awareness of defence personal about their vulnerabilities.

    October 2010