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Jawaharlal Nehru and the Chief of Defence Staff

General V.P. Malik, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, (Retd) was Chief of Army Staff from 1997 to 2000.
Anit Mukherjee was Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • July 11, 2011

    The appointment of the Naresh Chandra Committee is an opportunity for India’s strategic community to engage in a long-overdue debate on our approach to national security. In this brief, the authors dwell on the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) controversy by discussing a little-known letter written by India’s first Governor-General Mountbatten. In this letter, which is published along with this brief, Mountbatten claimed that Prime Minister Nehru was “no longer opposed to the idea of the CDS.” After discussing the historical relevance of this letter the authors discuss the current debate on the issue. Among other recommendations they urge current stakeholders, mainly the three Service Chiefs, to clearly articulate their views on this issue. The authors further, argue that the Naresh Chandra Committee must also ascertain the views of major political parties on the issue of the CDS. Ultimately, this is an opportunity to usher in the next generation of defence reforms.

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