Chauhan, who retired as a three-star Lt-General in May last year, will wear the uniform of his parent service, the Army, but his cap, shoulder rank badges and other accoutrements as a four-star officer will represent all the three services, said officials on Thursday.
He will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial and receive a guard of honour before taking charge of his office in South Block. Though the three service chiefs will exercise full operational control over their forces, Chauhan will be the permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee as the CDS.
As the second tri-service chief as well as the secretary of the Department of Military Affairs in the defence ministry, the dual-post lying vacant since the first CDS General Bipin Rawat died in a helicopter in December last year, Chauhan has his task cut out for him.
His primary role will be to facilitate restructuring of military commands to bring “jointness and synergy” in operations among the Army, Navy and IAF, including establishment of integrated theatre commands, as well as assign inter-service prioritization to capital arms procurements based on anticipated budgets.
Gen Rawat had laid some foundations for four new unified commands — the integrated maritime theatre command (MTC), air defence command (ADC), and two land-based commands for Pakistan and China – but the task was left unfinished due to his untimely death.
The IAF has remained opposed to the division of its “limited air assets”, like just 32-33 fighter squadrons when at least 42 are required, among different theatre commands. Chauhan will have to resolve the deadlock.
He will also function as the military advisor to the PM-led Nuclear Command Authority and administer all tri-service organizations, including the Defence Space Agency, Defence Cyber Agency and the Armed Forces Special Operations Division.