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May 9, 2010

Govt says no to defence officers in MoD

NEW DELHI : CDS) post was not enough, the government has now rejectedthe proposal to post Army, Navy and IAF officers as joint/additional secretaries in the defence ministry (MoD).

  Taking note of the huge disconnect between Service HQs and MoD, theparliamentary standing committee on defence last year ‘‘strongly’’recommended the change in MoD staffing patterns to ensure armed forceswere ‘‘intrinsically involved in national security management and apex decision-making process’’.

   But defence minister A K Antony holds "no change’’ is ‘‘considered necessary’’ since ‘‘a high degree of integration’’ between Service HQs and MoD had already been achieved. Antony, in Parliament last week, listed out steps like adoption of ‘‘single file system’’ between Service HQs and MoD, delegation of financial and administrative powers at various levels and re-designation of Service HQs as ‘‘Integrated HQs’’ to support this argument.

   But these measures are widely perceived to be merely cosmetic, with the bureaucracy continuing to maintain a vice-like grip over armed forces. ‘‘India, like the Kargil Review Committee held, is probably the only major democracy where armed forces are kept out of the apex government structure,’’ said a senior Army officer.

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