The Government of India on 30th December 2019 officially announced the appointment of General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Army Staff as the country’s first Chief Of Defence Staff (CDS) in the rank of a full General. The widely awaited announcement came as no surprise, since the notification for the creation of the post was issued on December 23, 2019, itself.
On December 31, 2019, as per tradition on completion of tenure, General Bipin Rawat handed over the reins of the Indian Army to General Manoj Naravane, who took over as the 28th Chief of Army Staff. Come January 1, 2020, the Indian Armed Forces would go through a transitional change in the working, tradition and structure of the Three Services with General Bipin Rawat assuming the role of the First CDS, and correspondingly, also become the ex-officio Secretary, Department of Military Affairs, (a newly created department within the Ministry of Defence)
Along with the Role of the Department of Military Affairs, as a the first among equals, the Four Star General as Chief of Defence Staff, will have his own unique uniform, which will be in sync with the Tri-Service ethos of Victory Through Jointness. The Army, The Navy, the Air Force all have their own distinct uniform, head wear, ethos and culture of the uniform. But as the top officer, representing all three Services, the CDS will be seen in a unique combination of uniform. But first, let us look at the CDS’s flag.
The Flag: Every Commander carries a Flag, which is a symbol of the authority, and a rallying point for all troops under the command of the said Commander.
The personal Flag of the Chief of Defence Staff, which will fly at the residence, the office and the car flag has been designed with the existing Tri-Service Emblem of the three Services; Sword of the Army, the Naval Anchor, the Air Force Eagle and surmounted by the Ashoka Lions on top, with an olive wreath beneath the emblem itself on the Field and the National Flag on the canton (upper left corner) of the flag.
The Cap: The Cap worn by the Chief of Defence Staff will be that of the Indian Army General Officer’s Peak Cap, with the Tri-Service emblem and Olive wreath beneath it.
Point to note, The First CDS India, Gen Bipin Rawat who has been a Gorkha Rifles officer, and used to wearing the ceremonial Gorkha Hat, won’t be wearing the same anymore.
Belt buckle: Every officer or soldier in the Indian Army can be identified by their respective regimental accoutrements on the uniform and the regimental emblem on the belt buckle.
However, the Chief of Defence Staff will wear a leather belt, with a Tri-Service emblem and Olive wreath on the buckle.
Shoulder badges: In a departure from the rank badges worn by Flag Rank Officer’s in the Army, Navy and Air Force, the rank badges of the Chief of Defence Staff will be distinctly different from any of the Services till date.
The new design has the same Tri-Service emblem and Olive wreath (similar to that of a Field Marshals rank used in most Commonwealth nation) and the Ashoka Lions on top of it.
The shoulder flash itself will be in the dark crimson.
Buttons: The uniform of the Chief Of Defence Staff will adorn a distinct Tri-Service emblem on the buttons of the Winter dress uniformz unlike the usual buttons worn by Flag Rank Officer’s in the other services.
Jointmanship: The aim of having a unique combination of uniform and accoutrements for the Chief of Defence Staff and Defence Staff Headquarters aims at striving towards bring together all the facets of Tri-Service ethos and method and find commonality of intent and purpose towards enhancing further Jointmanship among the Armed Forces of India.
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