Lt. General Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed as the next Chief of Army Staff, was found the best suited among the current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals to deal with emerging challenges. At present the new army chief is required to deal with reorganizing and restructuring military force in the north to deal with continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and also deal with emerging situation in the North-East. While considering the challenges faced by the army and the experiences that Lt. General Bipin Rawat has in fulfilling the requirement, this decision of government may not be that strange. However, it is the politics involved that matters a lot.
Although Government has the absolute authority in choosing the new Army Commands, so far in line with the principle of not interfering the matters of Army with political objectives, subsequent governments have maintained the option of choosing new army chief in line with the principle of seniority. It is with this principle that even this government has chosen Air Marshal Birendra Singh Dhanoa to replace Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on December 31. With this move opposition is already raising the issue of politicising the Army even as the controversy of involving politics and letting army involved into political ambit of surgical strikes isn’t yet over.
In a unique relationship that exist between the government and the army, where although the army is involved to fulfil the political dreams of government, they themselves are kept out of politics as a separate and intact institution running on the principle of seniority, this decision of government to over-rule seniority in appointment may not go well within the army. The two candidates Lt Gen Pravin bakshi & Lt Gen Mohamed Ali hariz, whose seniority has been bypassed to make this appointment may not take this decision well as serving under a junior isn’t that acceptable in the army.