Rawat, not Raw at surgical Strikes..
Tradition pips out. Bipin Rawat has been named the next Chief of the Indian Army. The government has taken a conscious call to bypass two more senior Armymen. The more Senior of the two, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi may be in the running for the Chief of Defence Staff role.
One one axis, the Indian Army is divided into six Regional Commands, besides a Parachute Brigade (Agra) and Army Training Command at Shimla. On the other axis, there are four combat arms, the Infantry, the Artillery, Armour and the Para (Special Forces). Six of the last eight Chiefs have been from the Infantry wing like Mr Rawat.
Cool Chilli’s Comments
The government has to rely on established guidelines like Seniority to make its choice. But by no means should its hands be tied to take decisions in the larger national interest. The Indian Army like most armies/countries around the world in similar situations is the symbol of India’s sovereignty and a considerable bulwark against many vested interests. Mr Bipin Rawat’s considerable experience in surgical strikes may have given him the edge in the decision stakes. Also the government may still be wishing to leverage Mr Praveen Bakshi’s excellent track record and outspokenness for the post of Chief of (Combined) Defence Staff.
It is interesting that Pakistan in the past few weeks has also chosen Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as its Army Chief. Lt Gen Bajwa had been the last in the pecking order, basis seniority.
The Cost/Benefits of Decisions that change Global Power and course of Commerce
Readers may also remember that the Army that we see as ‘Indian’ originated as a band of soldiers. The band first created by the East India Company. The same EIC whose officer, Sir Robert Clive bribed Mir Jaffar (General of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-Ud-Daulah). This one act ensured that the Siraj-ud-daulah’s large army surrendered before a much weaker EIC. This would have been one ‘tipping point’ in the history of British power in India and thereby its influence over global trade and commerce. India then contributed more than a third of global GDP by many estimates. Therefore, Siraj-ud-daulah’s choice of General (whenever he made it) worked for the English Crown. (Of academic interest, the other decision which helped Brittania rule the waves was the encouragement of ‘pirate’ Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I)
In ending, we hope Mr. Modi and Mr Parrikar (known for their personal scruples) have taken this decision to do away with tradition post much thought. Mrs Indira Gandhi had eschewed seniority as well (in case of Lt Gen S.K. Sinha in 1983) and extended the term of the then General to deny Lt Gen Prem Bhagat in 1975. We at NewsTikka.com believe some traditions ought to be maintained unless there is a larger national interest served.
Controversy over new Chief of Army