Now that the formal announcement has been made, the full story can be told of all the ways the bureaucracy tried to prevent the creation of the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA); and how the Prime Minister weighed in.
The outgoing Chief of Army Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat was to have become the CDS. He was to retire on December 31. The CDS was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security on December 24. Top bureaucrats kept advising the PM to rethink the proposal because of the “disquiet” in the bureaucracy. The retirement age of 65 and parity between the CDS and the cabinet secretary were presented as manifestations of this disquiet. It was also highlighted that unless the gazette notification was issued before December 31, Gen. Rawat could not progress from army chief to CDS in a seamless manner.
In response, PM Narendra Modi told officials he wanted it done the next day. Whatever the sense of disquiet, no bureaucrat was brave enough to disobey the PM.
A new fan
Deepika Padukone has an unlikely admirer: Former foreign minister K Natwar Singh! Singh writes that Padukone did no wrong by visiting the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He says: “I have never met Deepika Padukone, nor have I seen any of her films. From time to time, I have seen her photographs in magazines. By any standards, she is a stunningly beautiful lady.”