Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said "resistance" within the three Services — Army, Navy and Air Force — was the reason behind erstwhile UPA government’s rejection of the idea of having a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
The senior Congress leader made the remarks on the occasion of the fourth K Subrahmanyam Memorial Lecture that was delivered by Lt Gen (Retd) Shamsher Singh Mehta here on Tuesday.
"As indeed the idea of an integrated defence chief is apparently being given thought by the present government. It was turned down by the previous one principally because of resistance within the uniformed services.
"My understanding is that resistance may have much more to do with military ego and protocol issues amongst the chiefs than may be intellectual rejection of the value of an integrated command," Tharoor said.
His comments came days after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said integration of the three Services "is a must" and that he is working out a mechanism for the creation of a post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) with a fixed tenure that he will recommend in the next "2-3 months".
During his lecture, Mehta emphasised on the need to create the post of a CDS and said it was imperative on the part of the "political class" to take a step on that front.
"All over the world, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force fight for their own turf. It is the political class that get together and say we shall do it sooner or later," he said stressing on the need for a blueprint for creating that structure. .
Speaking on the topic ‘Securing India’s Insecurity: Emerging Vulnerabilities in an Interconnected World’, Mehta also dwelt on the need for "intelligent" defence expenditure terming it as the "engine" for economic growth.
He stressed on the need to differentiate between the concepts of national security and national defence saying the latter was merely a "subset" of the former.
Elaborating on the topic of discussion and emerging threats to national security, Mehta charted out several issues including "vulnerability interdependence" of India’s neighbours and threat on the cyberspace.
Pointing out the challenges on the technological front, he said civilian technology is more advanced than military technology in the modern world.
The former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Army’s Western Command said that an iPhone is "more powerful" than the entire NASA apparatus that had put Neil Armstromg on the surface of the moon.
Mehta, who holds the distinction of leading the only tank column that had reached Dhaka during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, added that there was a need to change the "lexicon" of the nuclear debate in the present world.