New Delhi: After the untimely demise of General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on December 8, the question of who will fill the unprecedented void created in the military hierarchy is running on everyone’s mind. While the Centre is yet to make an official word on the same, several names have been doing rounds for the post, which is expected to be filled in the next 7-10 days. General Rawat was appointed as the first CDS of the country in January 2020. In his Independence Day speech in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the creation of CDS as head of the tri-services. Any Commanding officers or flag officers of the armed forces are eligible for the position, the rules said.Also Read - CDS Gen Rawat's Chopper Crashed Due To Pilot Error In Unexpected Cloudy Weather, Court Of Inquiry Report Finds

Take a look at the frontrunners here:

General Manoj Mukund Naravane: Naravane is considered to be the frontrunner for the CDS post as he is senior to his counterparts in the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. General Naravane took over from Genera Bipin Rawat on 31 December 2019 after the latter completed his term as the COAS (Chief of the Army Staff). Also Read - Centre Likely to Take 'More Time' in Naming CDS Bipin Rawat’s Successor: Report

Prior to his appointment as the COAS, the general served as the 40th Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) of the Indian Army, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Eastern Command and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Army Training Command. Also Read - Daughter Of Lt Colonel Harjinder Singh, Who Died In Chopper Crash, Performs His Last Rites | Watch

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria: Born on September 15, 1959, Air Chief MarshalRakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria is a retired Indian Air Force officer, who served as the Chief of the Air Staff of the IAF. He had assumed office on September 30, 2019, after superannuation of Air Chief MarshalBirender Singh Dhanoa.

Bhadauria has clocked over 4,250 hours of flying and has experience on over 26 different types of fighter jets and transport aircraft. He held several key operational and administrative appointments at various stages of his service.

Responsibilities of the CDS

  • Integrating operations of the Army, Air Force and Navy.
  • Evaluating plans for ‘Out of Area Contingencies’, as well as other contingencies such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
  • Ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure in the three Services.
  • Bringing about reforms in the functioning of three services aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.

Who Recommended Appointment of CDS In India?

A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country’s security system in the wake of the Kargil War in 1999 had called for the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff as a single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister. A group of ministers analysing required reforms in the national security system had also favoured appointing a chief of defence staff.

In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Task Force had recommended creating the post of permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The CoSC comprises chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force and the senior-most among them acts as its chairman as per existing norm.