In 1947, very few Indians had first-hand knowledge or experience of higher defence organisation and administration. Pakistan inspired invasion of Kashmir forced the pace of evolution of such an organisation. A number of committees came into existence to advise the Government and the Defence Minister on defence problems, the main one being the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, which was supported by other committees like the Defence Minister's Committee (DMC), the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) and the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC).

In subsequent years, following the ceasefire in Kashmir and India's adherence to a policy of peace and non-alignment, most of the committees became defunct, their functions being combined.

After the Chinese aggression in 1962, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet was replaced by the Emergency Committee of the Cabinet - the latter excluded the attendance of Service Chiefs and the Defence Secretary unlike the former. The DMC was revamped to include scrutiny of operational developments and overseeing of defence preparedness. A number of other committees came into being to expedite the defence build-up. However, as the imminence of Chinese threat receded, most of these committees again became defunct.