In a move seen as a further indication of the government's intentions to appoint Gen. Bipin Rawat as India's first Chief of Defence Staff, the Defence Ministry has amended rules of service and tenure in the Army Rules, 1954.
In its notification dated December 28, the Ministry has stated that Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) or tri-services chief will be able to serve till the age of 65 years. "Provided that the Central Government may, if considered necessary, in public interest, so to do, give extension of service to the Chief of Defence Staff, referred to in the Explanation to clause (a) of sub rule (5), for such period or periods, as it may deem necessary subject to maximum age of 65 years."
Gen. Bipin Rawat is to retire as Chief of Army Staff on December 31.
As per existing rules, the three Services chiefs can serve up to the age of 62 or for three years, whichever is earlier.
The development is being seen as indicative of who is the government's choice for donning the mantle of India's first CDS.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December 24, approved the CDS post and its charter and duties.
The CDS will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on tri-services matters. The three service chiefs will continue to advise the Defence Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective forces.