The Union Cabinet officially named General Bipin Rawat as India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) late on December 30.
The process of appointing a CDS, however, had started way before that, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the landmark decision during his Independence Day speech on August 15.
So, what does a CDS do? And what are his responsibilities, as the "first among equals" among service chiefs, going to be?
For starters, the CDS will be single-point military adviser to the government, as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999. According to news agency PTI, the CDS wll act as the principal military adviser to the defence minister on all matters relating to tri-services.
A key mandate of the CDS will be to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands.
Officials said bringing about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services within three years will be another major mandate of the CDS.
The tri-service agencies, organisations and commands relating to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS and he will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
According to a report by India Today, the CDS will also be responsible for trimming weapons procurement procedures and will have the authority to create theatre commands as and when required.
The report states that the CDS would be a four-star general from any of the three sectors of Indian armed forces. The CDS will have a fixed term.
On December 29, the government amended the rules placing a maximum age limit of 65 years for the CDS to serve in the position.