New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday 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.
He said he will recommend the mechanism in the next "2-3 months", noting it is important to move away from the thinking of "we" and "they" between the Defence Ministry and the three Services.
"Integration has to be there and Chief of Defence Staff is a must. How do you work it out? Give me some time and I will work it out because the three forces' integration does not exist in the present structure," Parrikar said at the India Today conclave.
He was asked if the government is in favour of a CDS and if a Major General can ever be appointed as a Joint Secretary in the Defence Ministry.
Giving an example of a situation where a helicopter is needed, the Minister said the protocol for the air force and army for the same is different.
"I am not criticising but force integration and requirement integration as well as overlapping will save us money. With overlapping, number of items will be reduced," he said.
Parrikar said it has to be recommended with very clear aspects and how to do it.
"More or less, in the next 2-3 months, my recommendation will get to the right place," he said when asked about a time-line.
He made it clear that he will be recommending a mechanism for creation of the post of CDS and that the final decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
At present, India has a Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee which Parrikar described as "virtually a figure head".
He said CDS should be able to have discussion with all three Services and be able to work out specific requirements and needs.
Former Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh said that as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, he had only a six-month tenure.
The post of CDS should have fixed tenure and the government should be "sensitive" to "sensitivities" of the army, he said.
On Singh's remarks, Parrikar said that CDS needs to have some fixed time period.
"It is true for almost any important post. Your can't work for six or eight months," he said, adding that integration of the forces with the Defence Ministry has to be carried out but doing it overnight will not serve the purpose.
"It has to be in stages...You can start with ex-servicemen welfare area, giving more role to defence personnel," he said.
"They refer to Ministry of Defence and various headquarters as they and we. I think we are all we. It has to be one," he said.
CDS is a five-star officer proposed by the GoM formed after the Kargil conflict to suggest changes in the higher defence management structure of the country.