Bipin Rawat demise: Frontrunners to fill in the big boots; Gen Mukund Naravane favourite for CDS post
General Rawat had a proven track record on delivery and that makes it even more difficult to find a replacement easily and throws up a very difficult question on succession.
The untimely demise of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash has left a huge void in the Indian Armed Forces. As a result, speculations are rife that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Mukund Naravane, a senior to his counterparts in the navy and air force, is a frontrunner to occupy the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
However, there is no official word on who will be the next CDS, it is unlikely that the government will prefer to keep a critical military post like the CDS vacant for long. The Cabinet Committee on Security meeting on Wednesday evening was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and on Wednesday evening condoled the deaths of General Rawat and others.
General Rawat had a proven track record on delivery and that makes it even more difficult to find a replacement easily and throws up a very difficult question on succession. The overall merit cum seniority is what would be considered before appointing a new CDS.
According to a report, top sources had told News18 that the post will be filled in the next seven to ten days and the frontrunners for the same are Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Mukund Naravane and former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria (Retd).
As per the rules, any Commanding officers or flag officers of the armed forces are eligible for the position. A CDS can serve till the age of 65 while the three Service Chiefs either serve till they attain the age of 62 or for three years in the post.
General Rawat had taken over the charge as the first CDS of the country in January 2020. Normally, the upper age limit for the CDS has been fixed at 65 years. PM Modi, in his Independence Day address in 2019, had announced the appointment of a CDS who will be above the three Chiefs.