Lt General Anil Chauhan has been appointed our country’s 2nd Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on 28th September 2022. Lt General Anil Chauhan was the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) during the Balakot airstrike of February 2019. In September 2019, he was even made the Eastern Command’s General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, a post he held until he retired in May 2021. There are 5 major Army commands in India, of which the Eastern Command looks after the India-China border.
1. Appointment of Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan is the right decision of the Government
A. Experienced officers are required to face the challenges of hostile borders, terrorism and insurgency : After the unfortunate death of General Bipin Rawat 10 months ago, a discussion was going on about who should be the new CDS. According to many, an officer from the Air Force or Navy was likely to be appointed; but the Government has taken the right decision. India faces challenges from the land borders with China and Pakistan, besides challenges of terrorism and insurgency in the country. To combat this, India needed an experienced officer in this field.
B. General Anil Chauhan has served in all combat zones of India and played a major role in counter-terrorism operations : Since the Chief of Army Staff Manoj Naravane retired, some thought that he would be appointed as the CDS. Since Manoj Naravane is also very experienced and had reached the highest post, his appointment would have been appropriate too. It can be said that General Chauhan’s appointment is very good, because he has worked in all the combat zones of India; for example, he has commanded battalions and brigades in Kashmir. As a Major General, he led an infantry division in Northern Command’s Baramulla sector, and later, as a Lieutenant General, he commanded 3 Corps under Eastern Command. As DGMO, he coordinated Operation Sunrise 1 and 2 (Operations conducted by the Armies of India and Myanmar) against militant camps in the NorthEast – along with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval in February and mid-May 2019, respectively.
In short, he has experience of fighting on the India-China border. He has played a major role in anti-terrorism. Being an infantry officer, he has more ground experience.
C. The Indian Army and all the three forces will benefit from General Chauhan’s experience : As announced by the Government, General Chouhan can remain CDS till the age of 65. He retired 2 years ago. Post retirement, General Chauhan took over as the Military Advisor in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). Hence, he has plenty of work experience. I am sure that his experience will be of great use to the Indian Army and the Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force).
2. Challenges in front of the CDS
A. It is not correct to keep the post of CDS vacant for 10 months : General Bipin Rawat was the country’s first CDS. At that time, it was unanimously considered that the appointment of the CDS was a revolutionary decision in the history of the Indian Army. Unfortunately, General Rawat died before he could complete his task. After him, the post of CDS remained vacant for 10 months. Leaving such a post vacant does not send a good message to the enemy; nevertheless, now General Chauhan has been appointed and he will start working. This will improve coordination between the three Armed Forces.
B. India facing biggest challenge with regards to China and Pakistan : Theatre commands were to be created for India – The Northern Command, the Western Command, the Peninsular Command, the Air Defence Command, a Marine Command. All such important tasks will now fall on the new CDS and the effort required to build consensus and take the reorganisation process forward.
China and Pakistan pose a challenge for us and is not likely to reduce in the near future. Conversely, China and Pakistan will challenge us in a conventional war. The challenge from them is a ‘Hybrid War’ (Waging a war without firing a single shot), ‘Unrestricted Warfare’, ‘Grey Zone Warfare Area’ (where there is neither war nor peace), ‘Multidomain Warfare Area’ (Ideological War), etc.
General Chauhan will make good use of all the three Armed Forces for a hybrid war. Where China bothers us, we will need to respond militarily. I have no doubt that General Chauhan will perform all these tasks in a good manner.
3. Better late than never
Appointment of General Chauhan is a very good decision. The Government should be appreciated for this. Had this appointment taken place earlier, it would certainly have been better; but, let’s say ‘better late than never’, and wish General Anil Chauhan all the very best for his tenure !
Let us hope that in the coming times, India’s ability to fight, attack and defend our country will improve and India will become safer. General Anil Chauhan’s contribution will be important in this.
– (Retd) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan, Pune.
Let us hope that in the coming times, India’s ability to fight, attack & defend will improve and India will become safer !