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In this issue

August has been a busy month for those of us who are commentators on national security issues. First, there was the bold political move that in one stroke did away Article 370 in J&K. It took everyone by surprise, most of all those who had made an industry out of Kashmir's special status on both sides of the LoC. And the crocodile tears shed by Pakistan, had few takers in world capitals. And then, as tensions ran high on the LoC, the RM, Rajnath Singh, suggested that India's stand of no first use (NFU) of nuclear weapons could change. All this left the Pakistanis stunned. Abrogating Article 370 in context of Jammu & Kashmir was a historical event to undo the legacy of Pandit Nehru. PM Modi's decision to do so signals a new set of initiatives to deal not only with Pakistan's claims on Kashmir, but also China's land grab in Ladakh that we have been silent about since the 1950s. And as Pakistan began its sabre rattling to draw the Americans into this bilateral issue, the Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh's statement on India's post Pokhran test guarantee of the nuclear No First Use (NFU), by stating: “What happens in future, depends on the circumstances,” seemingly aimed at Pakistan, has further blown a hole through Pakistan's calculations. India too will need to make substantial changes to its existing nuclear structures, if it goes this way. But it was the Prime Minister's announcement on Independence Day, that the Indian armed forces will soon have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), ending the long wait on this issue that has been tossed about for at least two decades, if not more. But more than speculating who would be heading this position, it is important to debate what would be role of the CDS, and what changes we will need to make to the existing structures. We examine this topic in detail this edition.

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