New Delhi: The country on Sunday moved a step closer to getting its first-ever Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), with the government amending the service rules of the three arms of the Indian Armed Forces, extending the retirement age of the service chiefs to 65 years if he is appointed as the CDS.

The CDS, a position for which the outgoing Army chief General Bipin Rawat is the front runner, will also be a member of the Nuclear Command Authority, headed by the Prime Minister.

Currently, a service chief retires when he attains the age of 62 or after completing three years as the service chief, whichever is earlier.

The position, a long-standing demand of the armed forces, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech earlier this year. Last week, the government officially announced the creation of the post, outlining the CDS roles and responsibilities.

The CDS, among other things, will, just like the three service chiefs, be a four-star post but would be the ‘first among equals.’ He will not be eligible to hold any government post after demitting the office of the CDS. In addition to this, he will be barred from private employment (for which he will need prior government approval) for five years after demitting office.

The Chief of Defence Staff, most importantly, will be the government’s single-point military advisor and will have the authority to direct the service chiefs as and when needed.