Government defends appointment of new army chief, says it was done on merit
In promoting Rawat, the claims of Eastern Army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, the senior-most general, and Southern Army commander Lt Gen PM Hariz, were ignored. The last time this had happened was in the early 1980s
Rebuking any controversy over the appointment of Army's new chief Lt General Bipin Rawat, Defence Ministry and government on Sunday said that he was chosen “purely on merit” and the “due process had been followed considering the prevailing security environment and requirements,” The Indian Express reported.
Several officers and Opposition parties questioned his appointment over two seniors.The government had announced Saturday that Lt General Rawat would replace General Dalbir Singh, who retires on December 31. In promoting Rawat, the claims of Eastern Army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, the senior-most general, and Southern Army commander Lt Gen PM Hariz, were ignored. The last time this had happened was in the early 1980s.
Rawat’s appointment had been questioned by several senior Army officers as well as the Congress and the Janata Dal (United). The Congress had called the appointment “whimsical cherry picking”. JD(U) General Secretary KC Tyagi had compared the decision to the Emergency under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. “It seems those old days are coming back”, Tyagi told The Indian Express.
“Superseding in appointments always opens the up the avenue for many questions,” said Tathagat Satpathy, a leader of the Biju Janata Dal that is otherwise supportive of the government.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party defended the choice saying while there had been several competent contenders for the post and the most "suitable officer" was chosen.