Nuclear Weapons Now Under Indian Chief of Defense Staff – Bipin Rawat

India’s first-ever Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) – Gen Bipin Rawat has officially taken over the charge today and said that the task of the CDS is to achieve more thorough integration and synergy. And all the three services-Army, Navy and Air Force will work together as a team.

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The Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) of India is responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding India’s nuclear weapons program.  The directives of the NCA are to be operationalized by the Strategic Forces Command. As the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) – Gen Bipin Rawat is part of Strategic Force Command which will be responsible for nuclear weapons.

Although India has not made any official statements about the size of its nuclear arsenal, New Delhi is estimated to have around 130–140 nuclear weapons.

India is also in the list of select nations to have an operational Nuclear Triad i.e. the ability to launch a nuclear counter-strike from land, sea or air. Only the US, Russia, UK, France and China have a proven and an operations nuclear triad.

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India is a member of three multilateral export control regimes — the Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group. It has signed and ratified the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. India is also a subscribing state to the Hague Code of Conduct. However, India is not a signatory to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty nor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Earlier, India named Chief of Army Staff – Bipin Rawat as its first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The Chief of Defence Staff will be a four-star general and principal military adviser to the defense minister.

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The position-holder will head the newly-constituted department of military affairs which is tasked to ensure “jointness in training, logistics, and procurement of the three services” ie army, navy and air force.

According to the paper, India’s Defence Ministry recently amended the army, navy and air force rules by bringing in a clause that allows Chief of Defence Staff to serve up to the maximum age of 65. The existing rules state that an army chief has a three-year tenure or up to the age of 62.

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The move to appoint CDS comes amid high tensions between India and Pakistan over the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution which provided special autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir.

General Bipin Rawat, a counterinsurgency specialist and considered a close aide of PM Modi succeeded General Dalbir Singh Suhaag. His appointment raised a few eyebrows among opposition parties because he was given the job ahead of two more senior colleagues.