PM Narendra Modi seems to be taking up reforms one ministry at a time with higher defence reforms likely to be the next in line for the government. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that he would need "a few months" to decide on the higher defence reforms.
The higher defence reforms would ultimately create the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), which is expected to bring about "jointness among the three armed services," PTI reported.
Parrikar stated that he had to bring all the three services on board to take such a crucial decision.
Though the three services have been reluctant to leave their "turf," they have "come to understand" that jointness is better than "individually separate forces," Parrikar said.
He further revealed that he has been in conversation with all the three military chiefs on this issue. But he said that it was the same across all militaries.
However the minister requested "a few more months" before he is able to bring the reforms. He further claimed of "recent operations," conducted by the IAF and army which were successful. He did not provide clarification on what the "operation" was.
There was "total synergy" and the two forces had "no problem working together," he added.
The creation of the CDS post was recommended in 2001 forllowing a national security review after the Kargil War and the current government has been keen on implementing the reforms. Recently, the defence ministry also introduced several changes in the procurement policy.
The current tri-service command in India is headed by a three-star officer, whereas all the military chiefs are four-star officers. The new CDS is likely to be a four-star post with possibility of commanding tri-services command at Andaman and Nicobar islands, the strategic command in-charge of nuclear weapons along with the upcoming cyber and space command, the report noted.
Further, Parrikar also said that this jointness would lead to joint acquisition and is of the view that it can save the country lot of money.
"Jointness of acquisition will be advantageous. In fact we are doing some joint acquisition. Give me few more months," he said.
However, the final call on the creation of the CDS will be with the prime minister. In 2015, PM Modi had called for "jointness at the top" of the military establishment.
It is to be seen if the current government will be able to implement these reforms with full backing of all the three armed forces.