In a very surprise move, the central government announced the next Army Chief as Lt.Gen Bipin Rawat. Gen. Rawat is serving as the Vice Chief of the Army and will take over as the next Army Chief. Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa who is currently serving as the Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force has been selected to be the next Air Chief Marshal. They will assume power on 31st December 2016.
The appointment for the very first time has superseded the tradition of appointing the senior candidate as the Army Chief and given way for junior staff. This move has broken the three decade old tradition that only senior member can be the Army Chief which seems illogical as Army work is not similar to bench work as followed in administrations.
The two new chiefs belong to the batch of 1978. Lt.Gen Rawat belongs to the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles. He had won the Sword of Honour in IMA. He belongs to Kashmir, Northeast veteran and had miraculously survived a chopper accident while serving in Dimapur-based Headquarters 3 Corps. He had also lead the Indian Brigade during the UN peace keeping operation in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008.
Dhanoa is a Kargil Hero who was awarded the Yudh Seva Medal after the Kargil war and was awarded Vayusena Medal in 1999 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2015. He is the third Sikh to be heading the prestigious IAF.
Immediately after the announcements were made, the Congress has criticized the move and questioned the appointment of Lt.Gen Rawat. Usually political parties do not speak or comment on the selection of the Armed force Chiefs, but Congress seems to have problem with every issue and wants to create controversy.
It is good that Government kept the decision confidential or the opposition parties would have gone to an extent of even maligning the new Chiefs with fake stories, just like they did to Gen V K Singh.