In surprise move, Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat appointed next Army Chief

Major General Bipin Rawat. A file photo.

Major General Bipin Rawat. A file photo.   | Photo Credit: Sushanta Patronobish

Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, presently the Vice Chief of Indian Air Force (IAF) has been appointed the next Air Chief.

In a surprise move, the government on Saturday announced Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff.

The appointment goes against the long held tradition of appointing the senior most eligible officer to the post. By seniority, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command should have been appointed.

Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, presently the Vice Chief of Indian Air Force (IAF) has been appointed the next Air Chief.

“The next Army Chief will be LT Gen Bipin Rawat with effect from the afternoon of December 31,” Defence Ministry Spokesperson confirmed.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and Air Force head Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will retire on December 31.

Lt Gen Bakshi is widely respected as a highly competent and professional officer. The last time the senior most eligible officer was not appointed was in 1983 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi choose to appoint Lt Gen A.S. Vaidya as the Chief contrary to expectations that Lt Gen S.K. Sinha would be the Chief. Lt Gen S.K. Sinha, then Vice Chief, choose to resign in June 1983 after the appointment though he was to retire in early 1984.

With this appointment two senior most officers have been superseded, unprecedented in the military so far. Lt Gen P.M. Hariz, Southern Army Commander is second in seniority after Lt Gen Bakshi.

Of late with unprecedented delay in the announcements, military circles have been rife with speculation of a change in the line of succession. It is customary to announce the names 2-3 months in advance.

Lt Gen Rawat is currently the Vice Chief of the Army. He was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978.


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Printable version | May 29, 2020 11:25:15 AM |

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