Govt appoints Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (Rtd) as Chief of Defense Staff

New Delhi, 28/9: In a surprise move, the Centre on Wednesday appointed Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, who retired last year, as India’s second Chief of the Defence Staff, within months of changing the rules to make retired officers eligible for the coveted post.



Lt Gen Chauhan, currently serving the National Security Council Secretariat as a Military Advisor, superannuated in May 2021 as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command after heading the strategically vital command for nearly two years. Previously, he also worked as the Director General of Military Operations in the Army Headquarters.


“The Government has decided to appoint Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) as the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who shall also function as Secretary to Government of India, Department of Military Affairs with effect from the date of his assumption of charge and until further orders,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.



“In a career spanning over nearly 40 years, Lt Gen Chauhan had held several command, staff and instrumental appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and North-East.”



The post of the CDS was lying vacant since the unfortunate death of the first incumbent Gen Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in December 2021. In June 2022, the Defence Ministry amended the service rules for the army, air force and navy, allowing consideration of retired three-star officers of age less than 62 years, for the post.


One of the main tasks of the new CDS would be integrating 17 operational commands led by the Army (7), Air Force (7) and Navy (3) to create a handful of theatre commands. The process was initiated by Gen Rawat, but his untimely death stalled the progress. Also the IAF raised objections, which the new CDS would have to overcome.


Born on May 18, 1961, Lt Gen Chauhan was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles in 1981. As a Major Gen, he commanded an Infantry Division in the Baramulla sector in the Northern Command and as a Lt Gen, he commanded the crucial 3 Corps in the North East. He is widely regarded as a China expert in the Indian Army.


Subsequently, after the elevation of Gen M M Naravane as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen Chauhan took over as the GOC of the Eastern Command in Kolkata from where he retired last year. The General Officer also served in the United Nations mission to Angola.


The Union Cabinet in December 2019 approved the creation of the CDS which would be the single-point interface between the government and several branches of the armed forces besides guiding the government decisions on procurement, staffing and training. He would also be the permanent chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee.






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