sunil lanba, arup raha
Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, receives the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) baton from outgoing Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, during a ceremony in New Delhi on Dec 29, 2016.IANS

Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba took over as the chairman of chiefs of staff committee (CoSC) from outgoing IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Thursday. Admiral Lanba will formally take charge on Saturday when Air Chief Marshal Raha and Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag retire. 

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Air Marshal BS Dhanoa and Lt. Gen.Bipin Rawat will become the chiefs of the IAF and Army, respectively.  

The CoSC is the senior most officer among the Army, Navy and the IAF heads and acts as the "rotational" chairman until retirement. However, the government is planning reforms to create a post of another four-star general who will be the chief of defence staff (CDS) or a permanent CoSC chairman at the same level of the three chiefs. 

The exact responsibilities of the four-star general are yet to be defined. The whole concept will take around seven to eight months to be finalised, the Times of India reported. One of the things the officer will be responsible for is tri-service integrated planning, and policy and procurement matters aimed at systematically building military capabilities in a holistic and cost-effective manner. 

Eastern Army Command chief Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi is not being considered for the post, unlike what was reported earlier, according to the publication. 

The government is also looking to create integrated commands for space, cyber and special operations. India currently has only two unified commands at the Andaman and Nicobar Command and the Strategic Forces Command to handle nuclear forces. 

In 2001, a group of ministers led by LK Advani had recommended the reforms on national security system to create a post for single-point military advice to the government, and also to promote cooperation between the three forces and manage the country's nuclear arsenal. 

The integrated defence staff and defence intelligence agency were established after that. However, the then NDA government and the subsequent UPA governments did not create the CDS post since it would locate utmost power over the forces in one person. 

The permanent CoSC chairman position was, however, created in 2013 after recommendation from the Naresh Chandra Taskforce in 2012.