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Ministry of Defense

Supreme command of India's armed forces -- the third-largest in the world -- rests with the president, but actual responsibility for national defense lies with the cabinet committee for political affairs under the chairmanship of the prime minister. The minister of defense is responsible to parliament for all defense matters. India's military command structure has no joint defense staff or unified command apparatus. The ministry of defense provides administrative and operational control over the three services through their respective chiefs of staff. The armed forces have always been loyal to constitutional authority and maintain a tradition of non-involvement in political affairs.

The Government of India is responsible for ensuring the defence of India and every part thereof. The Supreme Command of the Armed Forces vests in the President. The Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) is the head of the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence, provides policy framework and wherewithal to the Armed Forces to discharge their responsibility in the context of the defence of the country. The principal task of the Defence Ministry is to obtain policy directions of the Government on all defence and security related matters and communicate them for implementation to the Services Headquarters, Inter-Services Organisations, Production Establishments and Research and Development Organisations. It is also required to ensure effective implementation of the Government's policy directions and the execution of approved programmes within the allocated resources. Ministry of Defence comprised three Departments viz., Department of Defence (DOD), Department of Defence Production & Supplies (DDP&S) and Department of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D) and also Finance Division.

In the Chiefs of Staff Committee, formal equality prevails among the three service chiefs despite the fact that the army remains the largest of the three branches of the armed services. This formal equality among the three services came about with independence.

The recommendations of the Group of Ministers constituted by the Government on April 17, 2000 to thoroughly review the national security system in its entirety were approved by the Government on May 11, 2001 with the modification that a view on the recommendation relating to the institution of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) would be taken after consultations with various political parties. The implementation of the recommendation of the CDS has commenced. To ensure that the recommendations are implemented in a time bound manner, the Government closely monitored the process. The approved recommendations include establishment of (i) a Defence Procurement Board (ii) a Defence Intelligence Agency (iii) a National Defence University (iv) Andaman & Nicobar Command (v) Strategic Forces Command (vi) Integrated Headquarters in the Ministry of Defence (vii) Enhanced delegation of administrative powers to Integrated headquarters.

To facilitate defense planning, the government established two organizations: the Defence Coordination and Implementation Committee and the Defence Planning Staff. The Defense Coordination and Implementation Committee is chaired by the defence secretary and meets on an ad hoc basis. Its membership includes the three service chiefs, representatives from civilian and military intelligence organizations, and the secretary of defence production. The Defence Planning Staff, a permanent body, was established in 1986. Composed of officers drawn from all three services, it is responsible for developing overall national security strategy. It is also charged with briefing the Chiefs of Staff Committee on long-term threats to national security.

The Ministry of Defence now consists of four Departments, namely, Department of Defence, Department of Defence Production, Department of Defence Research & Development and Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare. The Defence Secretary functions as head of the Department of Defence and is additionally responsible for coordinating the activities of the four Departments in the Ministry.

The Department of Defence deals with the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and three Services and various Inter-Service Organisations. It is also responsible for the Defence Budget, establishment matters, defence policy, matters relating to Parliament, defence co-operation with foreign countries and co-ordination of all activities.

The Finance Division of the Ministry of Defence is headed by Secretary Defence (Finance). He exercises financial control over proposals involving expenditure from the Defence Budget and is responsible for internal audit and accounting of defence expenditure. In the latter tasks, he is assisted by the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA).

In 1996 India's total armed forces numbered 1,145,000: of these, 980,000 constituted the army, 55,000 the navy, and 110,000 the air force. The paramilitary Border Security Force numbered 185,000.



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