Cabinet Committee on Security Current Affairs - 2020

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India to get its First Chief of Defence Staff

The Cabinet Committee On Security (CCS) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post that will function as a single point of contact for different branches of armed forces. CCS also approved the report of a high-level committee headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, which finalised responsibilities and framework for operation of CDS.

In the present structure, the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CSC) is Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Bipin Rawat. However, he does not function in capacity of a CDS.

About Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

A CDS would be a four-star general- from either of the Indian Armed Forces- the Army, the Air Force or the Navy and will be payable to a salary equal to a service chief. The CDS post will have a fixed term, that is yet to be determined. [All five permanent members (P-5 nations) of United Nations Security Council (UNSC)- have equivalent posts].

Role of CDS: Chief of Defence Staff, described as ‘first among equals’ among service chiefs, will be tasked with trimming weapons procurement procedures and integrating operation of Indian armed forces- Army, Air Force, Navy. CDA will act as a military adviser to Government of India and will also head Department of Military Affairs. CDS would also be a single-point military advisor whose advice would be binding on service chiefs of Army, Air Force, Navy and who would have authority to direct them, along with authority to create theatre commands as and when needed.

Background

To further sharpen coordination between forces and to make forces even more effective, the Chief of Defence Staff – CDS position was announced by PM Modi during his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2019 year. The concept was also strongly backed by late Manohar Parrikar, who was Defence Minister for two years during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term. However, a CDS to oversee military was first recommended by the Kargil Review Committee– a committee set up after Kargil War (1999), to examine lapses in security after war, in which Pakistani soldiers infiltrated into India, occupied key positions in Kargil mountains and triggered the war.

Other Committees: Government’s approval to CDS post that will strengthen India’s collective defence capabilities, also comes after considering-

  • Naresh Chandra Committee Report– ‘Report of Task Force on National Security’
  • General Shekatkar Committee Report– ‘Committee of Experts on Enhancing Capability and Rebalance Defence Expenditure’, chalked out a strategy for higher defence management.

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Government clears setting up of Defence Space Research Agency

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of the Central Government of India headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared setting up of new agency called Defence Space Research Agency (DSRO. The DSRO has been entrusted with task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies.

Key Highlights

Background: The decision to set up a new agency for developing space warfare weapon systems was taken some time ago at the topmost level and the agency has already started taking shape under a Joint Secretary-level scientist.

Function:

The Defence Space Research Agency would be provided with a team of scientists who would be working in close coordination with tri-services (Indian Army, Navy and Air Force) Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) officers. The IDS was set up in October 2001 under Ministry of Defence in aftermath of ‘Operation Vijay’ (Kargil Operations) as an organisation that will be responsible for fostering coordination and enabling prioritisation across all branches of Indian Armed Forces.

DSRA would be providing research and development (R&D) support to Defence Space Agency (DSA) which again comprises of members of tri-services.

It is also charged with finding and implementing defense related applications for India’s entire spectrum of space technologies.

Significance: This newly approved space agency DSRA will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies so as to enhance capabilities of armed forces to fight wars in space.

About Defence Space Agency (DSA)

It is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three armed forces.

DSA has been created to help India fight wars in the space.

In April, the government established DSA to command the space assets of tri services, including military’s anti-satellite capability. It is responsible for formulating strategy to protect India’s interests in space, including addressing space-based threats.

In March 2019, India carried out a successful Anti Satellite Test (ASAT) which demonstrated the country’s capability to shoot down satellites in space. With this test it joined an elite club of four nations (only United States, Russia, China, and India) with similar capability. The test also helped India to develop deterrence capability against adversaries who may want to attack Indian satellites to cripple systems in times of war.

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