Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat is proving why he was selected for job over other senior officers. He is bringing some visible changes to the functioning of the Army. These changes could well define how the Army deals with both internal and external conflicts in the near future.
COAS Bipin Rawat has taken three significant decisions in the recent past. First, is the one to give a commendation card to Major Gogoi for tying up a stone-pelter to his vehicle as a human shield to bring out stranded polling staff. Second, he ended the periodic government-military pay commission stand-off through a new deal despite internal resistance.Third, he moved a proposal to end the deployment of combatants as ‘sahayaks’ in face of continuing internal dissent.
First let’s talk about Major Gogoi. He joined the army not as an officer but as a regular soldier in the Assam Regiment. Hetook the difficult challenge of clearing exams from within the system and made it through the Army Cadet College (ACC) entry.
COAS Rawat publicly acknowledged Major Gogoi’s move to tie a Kashmiri stone-pelter to his jeep in order to save other lives. He gave Major Gogoi a Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card for this action including his earlier acts of bravery.
This brilliant move by the COAS shows that he stands with the last rifleman. This move gives immense confidence and belief to the soldier facing the enemy’s bullets that the top leadership will back him no matter what.
This sends a strong message to all the anti-national elements in Kashmir. They know that the soldier on the ground fighting them have the unconditional support of both the Army and the political leadership.
The enemies of the state can take any measures to further their agenda from stone-pelting the soldiers, throwing petrol bombs at both soldiers and civilians, supporting the ISIS, but any out-of-the-ordinary action by a soldier is immediately condemned by the media and intellectual circles. But this time, both the Army and the government is supporting Major Gogoi. This single move by the COAS could be a game-changer in India’s fight against anti-nationals in Kashmir.
General Bipin Rawat isn’t a high-handed, cut-off from the ground kind of leader. He’s set up a phone number for military personnel to register a grievance directly with him cutting past traditional military hierarchy. Even though he’s the son of a general officer himself, he’s cutting through the hierarchy. He pays bills for even official gatherings at home, and makes it a point to mend and clean his own uniform just like the soldier in the barrack.