New Delhi: The raging controversy over the appointment of new Army Chief is not going to die down anytime soon. The Union Government appointed Lt General Bipin Rawat as the next chief of the Indian Army who will take the reins of one of the biggest armies in the world after General Dalbir Singh.
Lt Gen Bipin Rawat will be superseding two of his senior officials and this is the reason behind the raging controversy surrounding his appointment.
While making the announcement the Defence Ministry said in a statement “Government has decided to appoint Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, vice chief of army staff, as the next chief of army staff with effect from afternoon of December 31”.
Almost all the opposition parties have opposed the government move of appointing Lt Gen Rawat while overlooking two of his senior officials including Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who headed the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief and Southern Command Chief PM Hariz.
Different theories are doing the rounds over out of way promotion to General Rawat. The Union Government sources suggest that Lt Gen Rawat was found best suited among the Lt Generals to deal with emerging challenges, including cross-border terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.
The government sources suggest that Lt Gen Rawat has tremendous hands-on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. He has more than 10 years of experience in counter insurgency operations and deployment along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. He also has extensive experience fighting counter insurgency in the Northeast and has commanded the Dimapur based 3 Corps which was involved in taking out insurgent camps in Myanmar.
Meanwhile there is obvious dismay among the community over Lt Gen P M Hariz being overlooked to become the first Muslim Army chief in the country. Superseding senior officers in favour of their juniors in the army is very rare in hierarchy conscious organization.
Lt. Gen Pattiarimal Mohamadali Hariz hails from Kozhikode in Kerala, and did his schooling from Sainik School, Amravatinagar in Tamil Nadu. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. On completion of basic military training from Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in 1978, he was commissioned into 12 Mechanised Infantry Battalion, and later commanded 19 Mechanised Infantry Battalion (Recce and Support.
Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla while expressing shock over the turn of event said, “Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi was senior most and according to the line of succession due to become chief. Had Modi not appointed Lt Gen Rawat out of turn as Army chief, Lt Gen Hariz would have been the first Muslim to head the Army after Lt Gen Bakshi. But Modi did not want it”.
Congress party in the meantime termed the remark “totally inappropriate”. “Shehzad Poonawalla used to be my intern. He used to work with me. And I think it is absolutely inappropriate, with all due respect to him, to try and bring religion in these appointments. The fact is that there is a principle of seniority and hierarchy and that needs to be respected,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.