The next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will be Lt. Gen. Anil Chauhan (Retired) PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, who will also serve as Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Military Affairs, starting on the day he assumes responsibility and continuing until further orders. Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, who has had a career spanning almost 40 years, has held a number of command, staff, and instrumental positions and has vast experience in counterinsurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir and North-East India.
Born on 18th May 1961, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. In the rank of Maj General, the officer had commanded an Infantry Division in the critical Baramula sector in the Northern Command. Later as Lt General, he commanded a corps in the North East and subsequently went to become the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command from September 2019 and held the charge until his retirement from the service in May 2021.
In addition to these command appointments, the officer also tenanted important staff appointments including the charge of Director General of Military Operations. Earlier, the officer had also served as a United Nations mission to Angola. The officer superannuated from the Indian Army on 31 May 2021. Even after his retirement from the Army, he continued to contribute to national security and strategic matters. For his distinguished and illustrious service in the Army, Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal.
The post of CDS has been lying vacant since the death of Gen Rawat along with his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 others in a helicopter crash on December 8 last year. On January 1 2020, Gen Rawat took charge as India’s first CDS with a mandate to bring convergence in the functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country’s overall military powers.
In June, the government amended rules paving the way for appointment of any serving or retired Lt General, Air Marshal and Vice Admiral under the age of 62 to the post of CDS. The change in rules allowed three-star officers to become the CDS along with serving chiefs of the three services. However, the age limit of 62 years for officers to be considered for the post of CDS ruled out a number of officers. While the age-limit for the three Service chiefs is 62 years of age or three years of service, whichever is earlier, the age limit for the CDS is 65 years of age with no fixed tenure defined.