New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday amended service regulations to allow serving and retired four- and three-star officers (General and Lieutenant General and equivalent ranks from other services), under the age of 62 years to be appointed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
The post of CDS has been vacant after the death of General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in December last year. The CDS is the single-point military advisor to the government.
This is for the first time that retired Lts. General, Air Marshals and Vice-Admirals will also be eligible for the post of CDS. Sources said this would widen the talent pool from which government could appoint the country's top military commander.
The amendment also makes recently retired service chiefs practically ineligible for the post — a majority of them usually demit office at the age of 62.
The government issued separate notifications as part of the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act, to allow a serving or retired Lt General, Air Marshal or Vice-Admiral to be appointed as the CDS.
"The Central government may, if considered necessary, in public interest, so to do, appoint as Chief of Defence Staff, an officer who is serving as Lieutenant General or General or an officer who has retired in the rank of Lieutenant General or General but has not attained the age of sixty-two years on the date of his appointment," the notification issued under the Army Act 1950 said.
It further said that the government may extend the service of the Chief of Defence Staff for such a period as it may deem necessary subject to a maximum age of 65 years. Identical notifications were issued under the Air Force Act 1950 and the Navy Act 1957....